Netherlands updates asylum policy for Russians

Russians, who fled the recent partial mobilization drive into the Netherlands, may end up deported

Netherlands updates asylum policy for Russians

Netherlands updates asylum policy for Russians

Some of those who have fled the recent partial mobilization may end up deported

The Netherlands has extended its decision and deportation moratorium for Russian nationals who had fled military conscription in the country for additional six months. Those who escaped the recent partial mobilization drive, however, will no longer enjoy a protected status and may be deported.

The decisions on asylum applications submitted by Russian would-be conscripts have been postponed for another half-a-year, the Netherlands Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) announced on Wednesday. The moratorium was originally introduced on June 29 over “a lack of up-to-date, unambiguous and reliable information about the extent to which conscripts in Russia” had been involved in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the service noted. Participation of conscripts in the hostilities has been reported early into the conflict, yet the issue was promptly addressed by Russian authorities that instructed the military to deploy only professional soldiers.

Still, the moratorium no longer applies to professional servicemen who deserted during the conflict and those who fled Russia over the partial mobilization drive, launched by Moscow late in September, the IND said. The decision comes since the “Russian Defense Minister has announced that the mobilization has been completed, and instructed the military units to halt mobilization work as of October 31,” the agency said in a statement.

“The available information about their situation is sufficient for the IND to be able to decide on applications for international protection from this target group,” the authorities stressed.

The move has been criticized by human rights groups, namely the head of the Council for Refugees Netherlands, Martijn van der Linden, who said it was unclear why people fleeing service in Russia over different reasons should be treated differently, especially given that only a few dozen of such individuals ended up in the country.

“We are not talking about a significant group requiring a speedy solution,” he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

The partial mobilization began in Russia with a presidential decree in late September, with the Defense Ministry announcing a call-up of 300,000 reservists with relevant training, previous military service and combat experience. On October 31, the Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the “mobilization is over.” Early in December, Putin said additional mobilization was off the table, with a half of the called-up troops still remaining in reserve.