No residency for asylum seekers sentenced to six months in jail

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Klaas Dijkhoff (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons). (Klaas Dijkhoff (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons))

The Dutch government plans to implement stricter rules for dealing with asylum seekers convicted of a crime next month. The biggest change Justice State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff has planned, is refusal or retraction of a residency permit if an asylum seeker is sentenced to six to 10 months in prison, Trouw reports.

The current sentence limit is 1.5 to 2 years in prison. Such sentences are usually given to people convicted of serious crimes such as public violence resulting in serious injury, violent mugging, home invasion, possession or distribution of child pornography or dealing hard drugs.

With the new rules Dijkhoff hopes to make clear that "persons exhibiting socially unacceptable behavior do not qualify for residence in the Netherlands", he wrote to the Tweede Kamer in October. "If a refugee or asylum seeker wants to be eligible to stay, he will therefore have to think twice before committing a crime."

These new stricter rules will not necessarily make it easier to deport a convicted asylum seeker. In addition to some countries refusing to take their nationals back, international humans rights treaties forbids sending an asylum seeker back to their country of origin if they will be treated inhumanly, with no exceptions. That makes sending people back to countries like Syria and Eritrea almost impossible.

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