The anticipated number of asylum seekers applying for shelter by 2025 is set to surpass previous estimates, as revealed in a multi-year forecast presented to the Tweede Kamer by outgoing

State Secretary Eric van der Burg (Asylum). By January 1, 2026, an estimated 133,500 shelter places will be required to accommodate them. For the current year, it is projected that 97,500 reception places will be needed, marking an increase of 1,500 compared to previous projections.

The distribution law, aimed at more evenly distributing the reception of asylum seekers among municipalities, is based on 96,000 places for the next two years, significantly lower than the new forecast suggests. Van der Burg currently adheres to the capacity outlined in the distribution law, while municipalities are preparing plans to fulfill their obligations.

While the distribution law is favored by many municipalities and organizations, it remains contentious. Criticisms include concerns that municipalities may be compelled to establish reception areas, with approximately half of them still resistant to the idea.

If the estimated figure of over 130,000 asylum seekers for the following year proves accurate, municipalities will need to accommodate even more individuals, noted the minister. Efforts to mitigate this include curbing the influx and relocating status holders from asylum centers to alternative locations, referring to agreements made in Europe and forthcoming ones. However, van der Burg acknowledged that the incoming Cabinet negotiators may be displeased with the surge in numbers. Nevertheless, he stressed the urgency of addressing the issue, stating, "Well, it is what it is. If there is no new Cabinet, then it's up to us. Someone has to solve the problem."

The integration of status holders is crucial as it frees up space in regular asylum centers for new arrivals. By the year's end, an estimated 26,000 status holders are expected to still reside in asylum centers. While local authorities are obligated to provide housing for status holders, they are struggling due to housing shortages.

Van der Burg reported that municipalities are set to accommodate 18,750 recognized refugees in the first half of 2024, with an additional 6,400 from the previous year. This totals to 25,000 apartments by July 1. Subsequently, another 17,000 status holders will be housed in apartments in the latter half of the year. Photo by Mstyslav Chernov, Wikimedia commons.