‘Model’ Amsterdammers win right to stay, as IND drops residency appeal

The IND offices in The Hague. Photo: Depositphotos.com
The IND offices in The Hague. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Two young women who put themselves through school, partly while living in a windowless storage space bordering on Amsterdam’s A10 ring road, will not be deported to Morocco after all.

Sisters Sofia and Najoua Sabbar, aged 21 and 24, came to the Netherlands with their mother as a seven and four-year-old and applied for papers in 2019, when both had turned 18. Their applications were twice rejected by the IND, and when the sisters won their case in court the IND launched an appeal.

However, the immigration service has now changed its mind about the appeal, and will give the young women residency permits after all. Amsterdam’s mayor Femke Halsema was among those who had appealed to the minister for a rethink, and MPs had asked questions in parliament.

Last week the IND also changed its mind about deporting a 13-year-old boy and his mother to Armenia, even though they are Syrian Christians.

Earlier this month, a report published by the Centre for Migration Law at Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen said the treatment of migrants who fall foul of the strict and complex rules allowing them to stay in the Netherlands has echoes of the child benefits scandal.

Immigration officials and judges are too quick to assume fraud by immigrants and asylum seekers, while the rules give them little scope to consider the human impact of their decisions, the report said.


Up to 2019, the justice minister had the right to grant residency to people in a ‘distressing’ situation by using their powers of discretion. But that power was taken away in 2019 and given to the IND when the amnesty for well-rooted child refugees changed.

In 2019 ‘fewer than five’ people were given a residency permit by the IND because they fell into the ‘distressing cases’ category, and in 2020 around 10.

Prior to that, ministers used their discretion around 100 times a year, the NRC reported.

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