The measure taken by the cabinet last summer to limit the influx of asylum seekers is in violation of the Dutch Aliens Act. That judges the preliminary relief judge in Haarlem on Monday in a case brought by a Syrian asylum seeker about the reunification of her family members. The woman’s relatives must be admitted to the Netherlands immediately and do not have to wait six months first.
Due to the reception crisis in Ter Apel, the government announced a number of measures in August to limit the influx of family members of asylum seekers with a permit. According to the cabinet, these families now often end up in Ter Apel and later in other full asylum seekers centers. By not admitting them until suitable accommodation has been arranged, the cabinet hoped to reduce the pressure on the asylum seekers’ centres.
A Syrian woman with an asylum permit went to court. In October, her husband and six children received a so-called provisional residence permit, which in principle allows them to travel to the Netherlands. Due to the government measure, they could now only be reunited with their wife and mother in April next year, unless they find suitable accommodation in the Netherlands sooner. The family lodged an objection to the IND’s decision. In anticipation of this, the family asked the court to authorize them to come to the Netherlands.
The woman’s family members are currently staying at the Dutch embassy in Sudan, where their temporary visa expires next week. That, and the fact that the minor children have been separated from their mother for a longer period of time due to the family reunification measure, the preliminary relief judge considers that ‘weigh more heavily’ than the interest of the State Secretary of Justice and Security to avert the asylum crisis. The family must now receive their authorization to come to the Netherlands within 24 hours. The IND has informed the ANP news agency that it will comply with this.
After the asylum deal was concluded, experts warned that it was in violation of the law. The Meijers Committee, a Dutch group of independent lawyers that advises on European migration law, among other things, referred to the European Family Reunification Directive, which states that the procedure may only take longer than nine months in special cases. The ministry cannot yet anticipate possible consequences of the ruling and will study the verdict.