Majority of Eritreans in Holland at risk of poverty

Photo credit: Nieuwsuur. Eritrean migrants in the Netherlands.

TMP – 03/02/2018

In 2016, more than half of all irregular migrant households in the Netherlands had an income below the ‘low-income’ threshold, according to the latest annual report from Statistics Netherlands (CBS).
CBS found that the poverty risk was highest among Eritrean migrant households. A total of 83 percent of these households lived in poverty.

For the majority of households with an Eritrean background, meagre government allowances were their main or only source of income.
After the recent economic crisis, the risk of poverty increased the most among migrant households, with the first generation of migrants more prone to living in poverty than the second generation. Since non-western migrants tend to be relatively young, they often work in flexible jobs which means they are more likely to lose their job in times of economic difficulty.

While the general poverty risk declined in the Netherlands after 2014, the risk actually increased for households with either an Eritrean or Syrian background. Most refugees from these countries applied for income support as soon as they obtained a residence permit. Combined with the large volume of people entering the country at the height of the migrant crisis, the number of low-income households surged among these groups.

Migrants arriving in the Netherlands face numerous obstacles and barriers to integration. While their asylum application is being reviewed they are unable to work, meaning they struggle to provide for themselves and for their families back home. Before they are granted asylum status, migrants are normally stuck in temporary housing for at least six months and many are housed in former prisons.
Tegisti Taklo fled Eritrea over fears of military conscription and religious persecution as a Christian. Having left her mother and young son behind, she says she has more problems as an undocumented refugee in the Netherlands than she did at home.

“Sometimes I say to myself, ‘Why did I leave?'” she told CNN. “For six years I don’t study, I don’t take care of my son, I don’t help my mother, I don’t help myself even. I just feel like nothing.”
“Sometimes I really wish I died in my country.”

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