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Plan for which VVD is prepared to let Dutch government collapse, caused overburdening of judicial system and violation of children's rights in Germany

The Dutch conservative VVD party plans to make the right to family reunification more difficult for people with temporary residence permits. In Germany, this restriction led to several lawsuits which were won by status holders. Mark Klaassen, Assistant Professor in Migration Law, believes this is a bad plan.

There is a crisis brewing within the Dutch coalition government. The VVD party, the largest party in the coalition, wants to restrict the number of asylum seekers entering the country. In an interview, NOS Nieuws asked Klaassen to comment on the VVD’s plan.

The VVD wants to have two groups of asylum seekers, one of which will be allowed to stay only temporarily and will not receive guarantees that their family members will be allowed to come to the Netherlands. The party wants to set a quota on the maximum number of family members who travel to the Netherlands each month. Coalition parties D66 and the Christian Union are against this proposed limitation of the right to family reunification.

On NOS Nieuws, Klaassen says that restricting the rights of refugees to have family members join them is possible from a legal perspective, but in the end is a bad plan.  It will lead to an overburdening of the judicial system as he expects an increase in the number of lawsuits by asylum seekers. To emphasise his point, he refers to the situation in Germany and recent history in the Netherlands when there were also different categories of asylum seekers: ‘There were many lawsuits and that was the reason to do away with the difference in status.’

In addition, the right to restrict family reunification would violate children’s rights. If a quota is set on a maximum number of family members allowed to travel in connection with family reunification, Klaassen believes that courts can deviate from this in individual cases.  

Find out more?

Klaassen was ahead of current events. In June 2023, he published a contribution on Leiden Law Blog about the ‘two-status system’ including the legal complications concerning the right to family reunification. The NOS also cited the blog when reporting on the issue. 

Read the full article by NOS Nieuws and the contribution to Leiden Law Blog by Klaassen.

On the evening of 7 July, Dutch newspaper Trouw (€) published an article on the distinction between types of asylum seekers. Klaassen and his blog are also cited in that article. 

Photo above article: Levi Meir Clancy via Unsplash.

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