The cabinet is to introduce tougher rules for marriage-related immigration, justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin and integration minister Eberhard van der Laan announced on Friday.
At the moment, foreign brides must be at least 21 years old but this may be increased to 24, Nos tv reports.
Although the 21-year age limit was introduced in 2004 by former justice minister Rita Verdonk, the media claim girls as young as 15 are still allowed in to the Netherlands as brides.
Foreign brides also face tougher language and integration tests in their home countries before they can come to the Netherlands under the new proposals. It is unclear if this will apply to all would-be immigrants.
‘Women often end up living with their parents-in-law and this can lead to situations bordering on slavery,’ Van der Laan was quoted by Nos tv as saying.
Some women are not allowed out, speak hardly any Dutch and are unknown to the Dutch authorities, the ministers said. There is a real risk that their children are not raised to be adequate citizens… which can lead to them dropping out of school, becoming a public nuisance or, at worst, turning to crime,’ the minister said in his proposal note to MPs.
Hirsch Ballin said the cabinet supports the right of people to choose their own marriage partner but said it wanted to ensure there was no compulsion, fraud and abuse.
Last month, ministers said they plan to ban marriage between cousins, which is common in migrant families. Polygamy – which allows men to have more than one wife – is also to be banned.
Since 2004, men wishing to bring a foreign bride to the Netherlands must also prove they earn 120% of the minimum wage.
According to the Volkskrant, last year some 15,000 people applied for temporary permission to move to the Netherlands, but it is unclear how many of them were marriage partners.
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