Boy who triggered campaign for child refugees gets residency permit

An Angolan youth, whose threatened deportation after nine years in the Netherlands led to an amnesty for child refugees, has been given a permanent residency permit, the justice ministry said on Saturday.

The planned deportation of Mauro Manuel, who was born in 1992 and came to the Netherlands alone at the age of nine, caused a storm of protest.

The case divided the then-ruling Christian Democrats and CDA immigration minister Gerd Leers eventually organised a student visa for the boy after a parliamentary vote.

The outcry led the new government to commit to an amnesty for child refugees who have lived in the Netherlands longer than five years.


Mauro, who has lived with the same foster family since his arrival, now plans to work for a while after finishing his IT vocational training course in June. ‘Maybe I will go back to college, but first I want to earn money so I can really start building my own life,’ he said in a statement.

The youth’s foster mother Anita is quoted as saying by RTL news that they are relieved everything has now been settled.

‘It has been incredibly difficult and we and Mauro have been very damaged by it all,’ she said. ‘That makes it difficult to say “thank you”. But of course we are enormously grateful for all the support we have had from everyone.’

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