The Dutch immigration service IND is to speed up its procedures for reuniting refugee families, after it emerged one in three requests take longer than the legal six months.
Refugees who have been given residency permits can apply to have close family members join them in the Netherlands but the process of bringing them here is often bogged down in red tape, especially if the refugee’s partner or children don’t have the proper paper work.
The IND is now considering taking a different approach to checking the papers needed to prove that partners are really together and that children are biological offspring.
In the case of children, for example, a dna check or interview could replace some missing paperwork, or the dna check could be skipped if all the other information has been provided, broadcaster NOS said.
The service expects this to speed up some 9,000 requests which are currently pending. On average 250 requests for family reunification are made a week, now that most coronavirus travel restrictions have been removed.
Refugee organisation Vluchtelingenwerk welcomed the new approach, telling news agency ANP that the current rules are ‘tough and unrealistic’.
The new procedure will give refugees ‘the benefit of the doubt’ and make refugee policy more humane, the organisation said.
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