Sharp increase in stateless persons in the Netherlands

Refugees at the Lebanon-Syria border (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/H. Murdock). (Child asylum seekers (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/H. Murdock))

The number of people without a nationality - so-called stateless people - in the Netherlands increased significantly over the past years. In 2012 the Netherlands counted about 2 thousand stateless people, now there are about 5 thousand. UN refugee agency UNHCR thinks the actual number is closer to 10 thousand, NOS reports.

The increase is mainly due to the number of Syrian-Palestinian refugees in the Netherlands. In the past they fled from Israel to Syria, from where they fled to the Netherlands. In that time, the became stateless, which means that they are no longer entitled to a passport. Many don't even have a birth certificate, which means there is no information to establish a nationality.

The future is pretty bleak for stateless people - they are not entitled to receive benefits, can't et a job and can't insure themselves, which means they can't claim healthcare benefits.

The Ministry of Security and Justice plans to make some changes for stateless people, especially stateless children, NOS reports. They are working on a proposal to improve the situation of stateless children by giving them a residency permit within a certain period. If a child is given a residency permit, he or she will become a Dutch citizen thee years later, according to the plan.