The Dutch immigration service IND has said it will speed up its procedures to assess family reunions involving people with close relatives in Gaza, in the hope this will help them leave the war-torn country more easily.
In total, 10 emergency procedures have been introduced involving a few dozen people – mainly the partners and young children of Palestinians already living in the Netherlands, broadcaster NOS said on Friday.
The IND said that in the best-case scenario, applications for entry to the Netherlands could be dealt with in a couple of weeks. However, there is no guarantee that having approved residency will mean people can leave Gaza anyway.
Palestinians who also have another nationality are eligible for inclusion on the evacuation list which operates at the border with Egypt. So far, 26 Dutch nationals have left the country but some 14 remain there.
Asylum law expert Wil Eikelboom told NOS that the decision to speed up the procedures is unique. The official length of time for a family reunification application is 90 days but on occasion it can take more than a year.
“Much depends on IND capacity but also on the paperwork,” Eikelboom said. “Are there birth certificates that can prove you are family? If not, then there needs to be a DNA test and that takes time.”
In the case of Gaza, he said, that can only be done at the Dutch embassy in Cairo.
The Netherlands earlier gave fast track Dutch nationality to an 18-year-old teenager who was among the 203 hostages taken by Hamas during their bloody raids in southern Israel last month.
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