Spending on asylum seekers has reached a massive €870m (£632m/$1bn) per year in the Netherlands, according to figures released by the country’s Security & Justice Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff.
The country had to service 240,000 asylum seekers last year, but the numbers suggest that 2015 is set to be one of the worst for the country, as 40,000 people had already applied for asylum by early May, against a total of 30,000 for the entire year of 2014.
The news has led Geert Wilders, of the anti-immigration PVV Party (Party for Freedom) to blast the expenditure as “Madness!”
The figures were initially provided to his party, and showed that the Dutch government had spent €485 million on the government body that receives and places refugees. Another €200m was spent on the Immigration and Naturalization Office, and over €70 million was spent on the Repatriation and Departure Service, which handles the extradition of criminals to other nations.
The NLTimes reports:
It was not immediately clear if the amounts provided to those agencies is only for their work directly related to asylum seekers, or if it is broader budget data.
Also, while some 56 million went to investigative and research services, about 26 million was earmarked for free legal representation of asylum seekers.
Dutch NGO Nidos also received 24 million euros to provide education, welfare and guardianship services to youth refugees. Another NGO, Vluchtelingenwerk, received 6.3 million euros to help with integration, reunification, and asylum service. Other organizations received 700 thousand euros.
The figures mean that each asylum seeker costs the Netherlands around €36,000 (£26,000, or $40,000) to process.
The news comes shortly after it was revealed that Britain is spending almost £1m a day on asylum seekers. Since Prime Minister David Cameron came to power in 2010, Britain has spent almost £1.2bn on asylum seekers.