Ban on Illegal Residence Could Lead to more Illegals
THE HAGUE, 14/05/13 - Although the conservatives (VVD) and Labour (PvdA) have agreed that illegal residence in the Netherlands will be legally banned, there is a chance that this proposal could actually lead to an increase in the numbers of illegal immigrants that obtain a residence permit.
Under the coalition accord, VVD and PvdA agreed that illegal residence would become a criminal offence. Recently, opposition to this proposal arose within the PvdA. After the VVD said it was prepared to talk with the PvdA on a dilution of the proposal, it seems as though this is now actually going to happen, in the form of two amendments.
First, insiders expect that illegal residence will not be banned under criminal law but under civil law. It will therefore not be a crime but an ‘infringement’, carrying fines. As a result, it will also be easier for all kinds of organisations to support illegals by means of providing a roof over their heads, legal aid, education or money.
Additionally, it appears that it will actually become easy for illegal immigrants to obtain a residence permit. This will happen if VVD and PvdA decide to recognise more readily than at present that asylum-seekers from certain countries cannot return to their country through no fault of their own, but actually because their embassy does not recognise them as a citizen of their country.
On Sunday, motions were put forward at a PvdA members meeting calling on the cabinet not to make illegal residence a crime but an infringement, and to give residence permits more readily to asylum-seekers that cannot return to their country. PvdA leader Diederik Samsom welcomed the motions, as a result of which it is expected that the VVD and thus the cabinet will back this.
The Party for Freedom (PVV) has sounded the alarm. The right-wing opposition party, which is currently the biggest party according to some polls, “has taken note with horror of the package of demands tabled by the PvdA,” said PVV leader Geert Wilders and asylum and immigration spokesman Sietse Fritsma in a statement on Monday. “With such demands, we will actually have more illegals on the street than is the case now, and fewer going back to their country of origin.”
The PVV urgently wants a debate on all proposed relaxation of the aliens’ policy in order to be clear as to whether these can count on the support of the VVD. “If so, then the VVD is really giving everything away to the PvdA to stay in power,” declared Wilders and Fritsma.