Resettlement of refugees

The Netherlands invites around 500 refugees each year to settle in our country. Since January 2018, in accordance with the coalition agreement this quota has been increased to 750 resettled refugees per year. They come from both refugee camps and from cities in the region. COA takes care of the preparation for their arrival in the Netherlands. COA also maintains contact with municipalities where they come to live.


Many refugees after they flee end up in a refugee camp or a city in the region where they come from, usually in a neighbouring country. For example, Eritrean refugees in a refugee camp stay in Kenya or Syrian refugees stay in Beirut in Lebanon. Sometimes refugees can return to their home country after a certain period or integrate in the country where they are staying at that moment, but this is not always the case.

Resettlement programme

The UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has a programme for the resettlement of refugees in another country. The programme is meant for the refugees who cannot return and are not safe in the region where they reside. The Netherlands is connected to this resettlement programme. Our government has made an agreement to relocate a total of 2,500 refugees in the period from 2016 to 2019, approximately 750 per year.

Selection missions

During the 'selection missions' an assessment is made whether refugees are eligible for resettlement in the Netherlands. There are 4 or 5 of these missions per year. COA employees, the IND and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs take part in such a mission. In some places, there are also employees of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar) and the Aliens Police (AVIM). The destinations are determined in consultation with the UNHCR and the countries that support the programme. The UNHCR nominates refugees and the IND decides who will be selected on the basis of the Dutch asylum policy.

Employees of the COA hold an interview with refugees during a selection mission. They make a resettlement profile with an assessment of the needs for guidance and the process of integration in the Netherlands. In addition, COA focuses on the expectations that refugees have about their lives in the Netherlands.

Before arrival in the Netherlands: cultural orientation training

Before the selected refugees arrive in the Netherlands, the COA offers them three cultural orientation trainings of 4 days each. During these trainings, the refugees prepare for their arrival in the Netherlands and housing in a municipality. They also learn the basic principles of the Dutch language

After arrival in the Netherlands

Approximately six months after a selection mission, the refugees who have been selected for resettlement, will come to the Netherlands. The first 48 hours they receive guidance from the COA. Then they go to their new home.

Individual invitation

Besides the selection missions, Netherlands may also invite individual refugees for resettlement in the Netherlands. For example, because there is a medical emergency.

Resettlement in Turkey

The EU-Turkey deal means that as of 20 March 2016, every illegal migrant coming to Greece has to return to Turkey. For every Syrian person returning according to this pattern, a Syrian refugee in Turkey is recommended to one of the participating European Member States. In 2016 and 2017, a total of nearly 3,000 Syrians were transferred from Turkey to the Netherlands under this deal. In 2018 the Netherlands resettled about 750 refugees from Turkey. The intention for 2019 is to resettle 1,000 refugees from Turkey.






The following organisations work closely together to make the selection, preparation, invitation, transfer and integration of the refugees as smooth as possible: