Dutch government struggling to expel foreign criminals

Photo: jvanderwolf via Depositphotos

The Dutch government is falling short of its targets to deport foreigners who are convicted of crimes despite tightening up the law five years ago.

The immigration service IND said 80 migrants were removed from the country last year after acquiring a criminal record, far fewer than the justice ministry’s estimate of 475 when it changed the rules in 2012.

The stricter rules have led judges to look at applications to withdraw criminals’ right of residency in more detail. Courts use a sliding scale to balance the severity of the crime against the length of time the convict has been in the Netherlands. Broadly speaking, more recent arrivals are at greater risk of being deported for minor offences.

‘We have to demonstrate in every case that the measure is proportional and balance it against the personal consequences for the foreign national, some of whom have been in the Netherlands for several years and have families here,’ a spokesman for the IND told the Volkskrant.

The application of the law has also been influenced by a European court judgment in 2015 that said foreigners can only be deprived of their residency rights if the government shows they pose a ‘real and actual danger’ to society. A criminal conviction on its own is not sufficient.


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