Children’s ombudsman criticises refugee amnesty grey area

Dozens of children are threatened with deportation because they were not under state supervision for the five years required under a child refugee amnesty, children’s ombudsman Marc Dullaert has told BNR radio.

Children who were registered at schools and known to the local authorities do not count as falling under state supervision, and so risk failing to qualify for residency, Dullaert told BNR.

Media attention is currently focused on the question of eight-year-old Dennis who was born in Zwolle but faces deportation because for part of the time he was off the national refugee organisation radar.

‘The argument about council and national supervison is very procedural and, from a children’s rights perspective, does not take the interests of the child into account,’ Dullaert told the broadcaster.

Junior justice minister Fred Teeven has the discretionary powers to allow Dennis to stay. His case will be looked at again at the end of this month.

Children can fall under local authority rather than state supervision if they have spent time living outside official asylum centres, such as in temporary council accommodation.

Limit

Teeven told MPs in October 3,260 applications for the amnesty have been made on behalf of children and their family members and 1,800 have been refused.

Of those, 1,330 cases have now gone to appeal. Teeven said at the time the amnesty was launched he expected it would apply to 800 children.

To qualify for the amnesty, children 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.


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