The Council of Ministers amends the family reunification policy for unaccompanied minor asylum seekers. This is what outgoing Secretary of State Ankee Brookers-Knoll (Asylum) wrote to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, who asked for clarification on the matter.
Norwegian Refugee Council I reported yesterday that the rules for family reunification were changed at the end of last year without informing the House of Representatives. According to the newspaper, it had to do with the fact that asylum children would no longer automatically qualify for family reunification if they were received by a (distant) relative in the Netherlands. After that, their parents or other family members are no longer automatically eligible to come to the Netherlands. This would discourage parents from sending their children in advance in order to seek asylum. The policy was changed despite criticism from lawyers from the Immigration and Nationality Service (IND), who question whether it is legally admissible. The House of Representatives was also not informed.
CDA, ChristenUnie, D66, and GroenLinks, among others, later called for clarification.
Research now shows that there are 207 cases. “It turns out that the scope of the case history is much greater than initially thought,” the secretary of state said. Moreover, it concerns a variety in which a “more individual evaluation of applications” is carried out.
It is still possible to order
Asylum children who have been refused for family reunification can still apply. “When necessary, the IND will display those concerned who were unable to claim family reunification in the past period under the above procedure to process the original request for family reunification.”
According to Broekers-Knol, in 2019 the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) decided for the first time not to approve a family reunification application from a single asylum seeker. The judge agreed with this line. Subsequently, this method was generally used within the IND. Last fall, the Nidos Foundation, which focuses on unaccompanied minors, asked the IND for an explanation of how the service uses the term “single person”.
Broekers-Knol was informed in March. In response to that memo, I decided to take an inventory, but it also kept the IND’s current way of working. The minister received the inventory this week and later decided that the modus operandi of the IND in relation to asylum children and family reunification may not be applied in general.
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