Some 500 refugee children in the Netherlands have lived here so long they would be given residency permits if parliament approves new rules, representatives of Defence for Children and Unicef told television show Nieuwsuur on Tuesday evening.
Labour and ChristenUnie have drawn up draft legislation which would allow refugee children who have lived in the Netherlands for at least eight years to be allowed to stay.
The two parties drew up the bill following the outcry surrounding 18-year-old Angolan youth Mauro Manuel, who was threatened with deportation despite living here with a foster family for nine years. He has since been given a student visa.
Immigration minister Gerd Leers opposes the plan. He said in reaction to the Unicef figures that the 500 children have parents and brothers and sisters.
‘You’ll soon be talking about a couple of thousand people,’ Leers said. In addition, families which have been here five years will try to stretch out their claims to eight, the minister suggested.
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