Reception centres for youngsters

Unaccompanied minor foreign nationals (amv) are asylum seekers under the age of 18 who are not accompanied by a parent or guardian when they enter the Netherlands. They come to the Netherlands alone or together with other children and/or 'strange' adults to apply for asylum.

The guardianship agency Nidos Foundation places amv up to 15 years old directly in a foster family. In principle, the children continue to live there until they become of age. For the minor asylum seekers from the age of 15, the COA offers a safe shelter with special guidance. Children from 13-14 years old will also be taken care of by the COA if Nidos cannot place them directly in a foster family. All amv who stay in reception centres of the COA fall under the guardianship of the Nidos Foundation.

Process reception centre

Unaccompanied minors aged between 15 and 17 get accommodation in a special process reception centre for amv (pol-amv) after their arrival in the Netherlands. Just like the adult asylum seekers, they go through the rest and preparation period and the General Asylum Procedure (AA). During this period, they receive support from the Dutch Council for Refugees and their youth protection officer from the Stichting Nidos. They stay here for 7 to 10 weeks.

After completing the AA, the amv who have received a residence permit will be taken care of by the Nidos as soon as possible. Young people, who do not have a permit after completing the AA, are placed in a small housing facility under the responsibility of the COA.

Small housing facility in regions

As of 1 January 2016, small housing facilities (kwv) with a maximum reception capacity for 16 to 20 young people will be set up for the reception of unaccompanied minors. They are set up in regions with a total capacity of up to 100 people within a diameter of about 15 km. A kwv can be on the grounds of an asylum seekers' centre or outside it.

In principle, an amv remains in the same region where he stays in a COA reception centre and, if possible, in case of transfer or placement in a Nidos shelter. This ensures the continuity of care, education and chain activities as much as possible. When amv become 17.5 and have sufficient competences, they move to a small housing facility on the grounds of an asylum seekers' centre (azc). In this way they can easily move to the azc when they are 18 years old.

Guidance and daytime activities

In a small housing facility outside the asylum seekers' centre, employees of the COA are present 24 hours a day. They supervise the minor residents and prepare them for the future: return to the country of origin or outflow to Nidos (if the amv gets a residence permit).

The guidance of young people is focused on the development of skills and future perspective. To this end, the COA has developed a special methodology that provides tools for the mentors to strengthen their skills together with the young foreign nationals. 

All young people are obliged to go to school. They can also participate in all kinds of leisure activities.

Protected reception centre

Unaccompanied minor foreign nationals constitute a vulnerable group for human smuggling and human trafficking. Young people stay in a protected reception centre if, based on the experiences of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service and Nidos, it has been established that the risk of their disappearance is high. They receive intensive guidance to increase their safety.