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Mark Klaassen: 'Cabinet acting contrary to Directive on family reunification'

On Friday 26 August 2022, the Dutch cabinet presented its new asylum agreement. According to Assistant Professor Mark Klaassen, the new agreement is barely legal.

Mark Klaassen

There’s a problem with the restriction of family reunification in the asylum agreement, says Mark Klaassen. 'In that section of the letter to the House of Representatives, I immediately thought: this isn’t legally feasible', he says in Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant.

The cabinet cannot stop family reunification. ‘State Secretary Van der Burg wrote this himself in the letter to Parliament. The Netherlands is bound by international asylum agreements. Based on the EU Family Reunification Directive, the reunification of family members cannot be refused to people who have been granted a residence status here.'

Klaassen suspects that the cabinet has searched mostly for something it can do. ‘So they ended up delaying the period in which a decision is made on whether family reunification may take place and the period in which a visa is actually granted to family members who are allowed to come over. That amounts to a decision after nine months and the granting of a visa after six months.’

The EU Directive is perhaps not directly called into question, but according to Klaassen this period is not meant to be extended. ‘The cabinet is therefore acting contrary to the Directive. Both in spirit and letter. The nine-month period within which a decision must be taken is a maximum.’ Deliberately delaying this period is not allowed and that’s what the cabinet is doing, says Klaassen.

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