Legislative proposal: forced (COVID-19) test for foreign nationals who are required to return
Soon foreign nationals who have to return to their country of origin may be forced to undergo a test for serious and contagious diseases, including COVID-19. This measure makes it possible to prevent foreign nationals from frustrating their return by not cooperating in such a test. A statutory basis is being created in the Aliens Act 2000 in order to arrange for this.
More than 40 countries of origin currently still impose a negative COVID-19 test as a condition for the return of citizens. At this time, it happens too often that foreign nationals who must return frustrate their deportation by refusing to take a COVID-19 test. This legislative proposal ensures that in extreme cases a forced test may be administered if a foreign national who is obliged to leave the Netherlands refuses to take a test. The act makes it possible to impose a test obligation in case of future outbreaks of serious and contagious diseases if this is necessary for return.
State Secretary Eric van der Burg:
People who are not allowed to stay in our country must actually return. This is crucial to the public support for the reception of asylum seekers. The Netherlands therefore focuses firmly on return. We do so by establishing cooperations with other countries, but also by means of this legislative proposal that promotes return. This is how we work on a fair asylum system.
Consequences of return
The figures from the Repatriation and Departure Service show that a total of 1,940 flights were cancelled in 2021 and 2022 because foreign nationals refused to cooperate in the administration of a COVID-19 test, which is necessary for a departure. The refusals to take tests also mean that 780 final transfer deadlines in Dublin cases expired in 2021 and 2022. This means that in those cases the Netherlands became responsible for the handling of the asylum applications concerned.
The legislative proposal for forced testing upon departure will be subject to internet consultation for 8 weeks. The Ministry of Justice and Security invites interested parties to respond to the internet consultation.
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