Court says Turkish refugee’s family can join him in NL, despite ban

A Dutch courtroom. Photo: Odi Busman
A Dutch courtroom. Photo: Odi Busman

Judges in Breda have ruled that the family of a Turkish refugee may join him in the Netherlands, despite the government’s decision to call a halt to family reunification procedures.

Thursday’s court decision is the second setback for the government’s controversial strategy to offset the shortage of housing for refugees and to reduce the number of new arrivals.

Ministers had agreed earlier this year that no family reunifications could take place unless the refugee had a permanent home or had held residency status for at least 15 months.

The court ruled the man, who fled Turkey in summer 2021, should be able to reunite with his family immediately. Mustafa’s wife, six-year-old daughter and baby have official permission to join him in the Netherlands but not until May 2023. They are nationals of Kyrgyzstan.

Junior justice minister Eric van der Burg, who is in charge of refugee policy, said he would study the latest ruling before deciding whether or not to appeal.

The court said the ban on family reunions is in contradiction of a raft of different laws and treaties.

After the first case, Van der Burg said the Netherlands would continue to call a halt to family reunification procedures.

In that case, judges in Haarlem ruled in the case of a Syrian woman that her right to be reunited with her children is more important than the right of the cabinet to try to manage the accommodation crisis.

According to refugee agency Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland some 20 similar cases are now pending before the courts.

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