The ruling coalition parties – the right-wing VVD and the Labour party – are to hold talks on amending plans to toughen up asylum policy and make it a criminal offence to live in the Netherlands without proper papers.
The talks will start in the next few days, a VVD spokesman told website nu.nl.
The negotiations are an answer to last weekend’s Labour party meeting, at which members said they would accept making it a crime to be an illegal immigrant if other aspects of the new rules are made ‘more humane’.
These include giving foreigners who cannot return to their country of origin a residency permit, an end to police quotas for catching illegal immigants and a ban on jailing people simply because they don’t have the proper papers.
News of the talks comes as junior justice minister Fred Teeven said he has no plans to amend his draft legislation – which is part of the coalition agreement.
Teeven told television talk show Pauw & Witteman that he took note of Labour’s position but it is now up to the parties themselves to decide what, if any, changes to make.
Opposition parties in parliament have called for a debate on the question, but the ruling parties say they want to wait until the outcome of the talks. Last week there were signs the VVD would be prepared to soften its stance, with some MPs saying the issue is not worth a cabinet crisis.
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