Towards the end of last month the Danish parliament voted in a new law which allows police to search asylum seekers on arrival in the country and confiscate any non-essential items worth more than 10,000 kroner (£1,000) that have no sentimental value. In Switzerland it was recently reported by the broadcaster SRF that refugees arriving have to give the state any assets worth more than 1,000 Swiss francs (£690) to help pay for their upkeep.
Meanwhile the New Europe newspaper edition 31 January – 6 February reported that refugees who are employed in the Netherlands are required to hand over almost all of their income – 75% of their earnings – to cover the cost of food and living. Under the regulations, which date back to 2008, they are also required to declare savings and valuables that may be liable for deductions (‘Refugees in the Netherlands paying for staying’)
As reported by The Guardian, they have paid more than 700,000 Euros over the past four years for the cost of living in centres set up for asylum seekers. They are also required to declare any savings or valuables they bring into the country to the COA (Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers) which runs Dutch refugee centres.
According to the article deductions can be made if the holdings amount to more than 5,895Euros for an individual or 11,790 Euros for a family. Personal possessions are included but exceptions are made for wedding rings, mobile phones and computers.
A spokeswoman for the Dutch Council for Refugees is reported as saying that: “It’s inappropriate to seize people’s personal possessions, but where people genuinely have the means, it’s responable to bill them for their expenses”.
Now two German states, Bavaria and Baden-Württemburg plan to claim cash and possessions worth more than 750 Euros and 350 Euros respectively according to press reports.