To avoid losing track of failed asylum seekers and illegal foreign nationals, and ensure they have a roof over their heads, the Dutch authorities provide accommodation at various sites where they are prepared for and assisted with their departure from the Netherlands.
Asylum seekers are housed at a designated reception location during the asylum procedure. The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers is responsible for providing this accommodation. The Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V) helps these aliens prepare to leave the Netherlands if their asylum application is rejected. Illegal foreign nationals or rejected asylum seekers have to leave the Netherlands within 28 days, depending on their status.
Foreign nationals whose application has been rejected and who do not leave the Netherlands within 28 days (for example because they do not have travel documents), are commonly housed in a so-called freedom-restricting centre. This is where the preparations for departure will continue.
Foreign nationals housed in restrictive accommodation are permitted to leave the centre but are required to stay within the municipality and report to the centre every day. They are also required to cooperate fully with the investigation into their nationality and identity.
Restrictive accommodation for families
The International Convention on the Rights of the Child states that the detention of a child may be used only as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time. For this reason, families with children are placed in restrictive accommodation instead of detention.
An entire family may be placed in detention, but no more than two weeks before the date of departure from the Netherlands. The detention centre must be one that is suitable for children. Detention of an entire family may be extended only if the individuals concerned resist repatriation or submit a new application for a residence permit at the last minute.
Foreign nationals who never applied for a residence permit and who are detained by the Police or the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee must leave the Netherlands immediately. In general they are placed in a detention centre or a removal centre.
Also in case there is a risk that a foreign national whose removal is imminent may abscond he can be held at a detention centre, which he cannot leave. If a case concerns a family with children under 18, the authorities may decide to place just one of the parents in detention. The other family members then remain in restrictive accommodation.
Foreign nationals with a criminal conviction who have yet to serve their sentence form a special group. During their term in prison, the DT&V manages the preparations for their return to their country of origin.