'Child pardon' helps 1450 asylum seekers

Fred Teeven
State Secretary Fred Teeven. (Fred Teeven)

The so-called 'child pardon' has given 675 young asylum seekers residence permits. This regulation also allows 775 family members to stay in The Netherlands. This is stated in the yearly report from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which Trouw has access to. 

The children who have been granted permits have had to prove that they have been living in the country for more than five years, as with the family members. Among the applications, 1710 have been denied, and 120 have been withdrawn.

The child pardon was taken up in the coalition agreement between the VVD and PvdA in 2012. Since then, 3280 asylum seekers have applied for a residence permit. Of these, 1450 have been approved, Trouw reports.

State secretary Fred Teeven announced at the end of last year that 620 asylum seekers were already able to reside in The Netherlands due to a pardon regulation. In the last weeks of 2013, 55 people were added to that list.

The reason for most of the denied applications is that it could not be proved that the children have been staying in the country for more than five years. Young asylum seekers who did not send in an application for asylum earlier were also turned away.

The association for asylum lawyers is not happy with the figures. They say that the low number of approved applications is "saddening." The association finds the rule excessively rigid, and that it is enforced far too strictly, as president Vallenga told the NOS Radio 1 Journaal.

According to the association, some of the children "were registered at a local authority, but not at the government and that's why they were not officially in the picture and didn't get a permit."