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Some 800 refugee children, plus family, will benefit from new amnesty

Saturday 22 December 2012

Some 800 refugee children and their families are likely to be able to take advantage of new asylum rules for children who have developed roots in the Netherlands, justice minister Fred Teeven has confirmed.

On Friday, the cabinet agreed new guidelines for dealing with the problem of children who face deportation after spending a number of years in the Netherlands. The amnesty is the wish of the Labour party, which forms part of the current coalition with the right-wing VVD.

The new rules state youngsters should have lived in the Netherlands for at least five years and not been out of contact with the Dutch authorities for more than three months. They must also be under the age of 21 and have lied about their identity to officials no more than once.

Teeven will use his discretion to decide what to do about borderline cases.


Child refugees with a temporary residency permit because, for example, they are ill or studying, will also be given a one-off opportunity to apply for permanent residency.

Teeven says he assumes this clause will apply to Mauro Manuel, the 18-year-old Angolan youth who faced deportation last summer even though he has lived in the Netherlands since he was nine. Mauro is currently attending vocational training college.

The minister is drawing up definitive rules for child refugees which should be completed by the end of January. These will apply to youngsters aged 19 and younger.


The minister also published more details about the decision to make illegality a criminal offence.

Illegal immigrants will face fines depending on how long they have lived in the Netherlands and eventual prison terms.

Teeven told the Volkskrant he did not expect the fines to act as a deterrent. 'A fine is too low a sanction to deter people from working illegally,' he told the paper. 'We have to be realistic about this.'

'However, what it is really about is that these people leave,' he said. 'If you leave, you cannot be exploited.'

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

It is a very bad move. While some consideration for the children and youth could be made (that they didn't participate on the fraud and illegal acts of traveling and immigrating taken by their parents), there is no reason t extend any amnesty to parents who were adults when immigrated to the Netherlands without proper visas or permits.

They should deport the parents and let the kids stay in Netherlands, if they want to. But they would have to live on their own, or if too young (<16) be placed for adoption or live with relative/friends with legal status.

By A.L. | 23 December 2012 1:25 AM

A girlfriend of mine (School teacher) came from Africa to NL 10 years ago hoping to settle here and take any old dirty job in order to help her 4 kids that live in the Niger Delta.

She did this as her husband was killed in a car accident, & her fishing village has been contaminated for years from Shell Oil - no future.)

She was held here for 5 months in detention, became ill from stress & denied medical help. She suffered a stroke and is still today having speech therapy.

She sees her kids only once a year, what justice?!! :P

By The visitor | 23 December 2012 1:27 PM

This is really great news, gives me hope. I'm glad these kids and needy families will get a chance to have a future. I'm happy to pay a little more tax or do without something frivolous so people like this can get that chance.

By Z | 23 December 2012 8:00 PM

@The visitor: life is stressful in different ways for different people. The Dutch government didn't kidnap her and brought her to the Netherlands. While it is a pity the course her life has taken, society here (NL) is not responsible for that.

By A.L. | 25 December 2012 7:49 PM

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