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Two-thirds of Syrian ‘refugees’ in the Netherlands do not want to return

In the Netherlands, Syrian "refugees" should be returning to their homeland soon since the war has ended. But do they want to?

Published: March 15, 2019, 7:53 am

    The Hague

    Some 75 percent of Syrian asylum seekers in the small kingdom do not want to return to Syria, no matter how peaceful and prosperous it may be. The “refugees” are in fact no longer fleeing war – they are immigrants.

    The political magazine Een Vandaag of the public service broadcaster WNL/NPO polled 848 Syrians.

    The  pollsters found that 75 percent of the migrants do not want to go back to Syria and even claim that they “cannot go back”. After the collapse of the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, Syria’s President Assad, who has pacified the country, has conveniently become the “problem” and not ISIS.

    No matter how the situation in Syria develops, they want to stay in the Netherlands for the rest of their lives, the Syrians said. They claim to have better job opportunities in the EU.

    But figures from last year reveal that their claim of better job opportunities can not be upheld. Nearly 90 percent of Syrians who are allowed to work, are not employed even after a stay of 2,5 years, reported De Telegraaf. This is according to figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Only 11 percent of working migrants had a full-time job after eighteen months.

    Dutch migration researcher Jan van de Beek also noticed a big concern. In the Algemeen Dagblad he said the Dutch should start limiting immigration. Every third world immigrant costs the country around 120 000 euros for life.

    There is no financial incentive to get started and many have no proper education, says Van de Beek. “Anyone who starts doing unskilled work hardly gains any benefits compared to what they get from state funding. I think that the problem is partly there. And furthermore it is of course just very difficult to find and keep work in a totally different country,” he added.

    “The indigenous Dutch finance an unemployed lower-class minority in the long term,” argued Van de Beek. The poorer Dutchmen, who are already hit hard by automation and globalisation, are particularly affected.

    There are currently around 70 000 Syrians living in the Netherlands.

    Despite criticism, nothing much has changed about that, says Willeke Colenbrander. “The integration requirement is A2 language level, but that does not cut it on the labor market. A higher level is really necessary.”

    Colenbrander says that the education and work experience gained in the mother country often do not match what is required in the Netherlands. “Diplomas are often not recognised.”

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