Unclear if all Ukrainians in NL can get residency passport stamp by September deadline
It is not yet clear whether all Ukrainians staying in the Netherlands will get a special stamp on their passport with which they can prove they are allowed to be in the country by September 1. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) is struggling with staff shortages, and it is not sure it will be able to give everyone the residence stamp before September.
So far, the IND has issued over 5,000 residence stamps, but there are about 65,000 Ukrainians in the Netherlands. Because of the war in their home country, they are allowed to live, work, and use healthcare and education in the Netherlands. The IND hopes to provide about 6,000 to 12,000 stamps per week in the coming period.
The visa-free period will end for many Ukrainian refugees from September 1. “Then it is extra important to be able to demonstrate that they have lawful resilience in the Netherlands,” according to the IND.
The IND opened locations in Assen, Nieuwegein, Amsterdam, Rijswijkk, and Den Bosch where Ukrainians can go for their stamps. The newest one opened in Deventer on Monday.
According to broadcaster NOS, these IND locations aren’t running at full capacity yet, and many Ukrainians have been trying for weeks to get an appointment for their residence stamp.
According to the refugees’ council Vluchtelingenwerk, many Ukrainians want to temporarily return home this summer, for example, to visit family or get relatives from the war-torn country. If they don’t have their residence stamp, they risk being unable to return to the Netherlands and being sent back to unsafe Ukrainian territory.
With the stamp, Ukrainians can live and work in the Netherlands and are entitled to a living allowance, shelter, medical care, and education for children until at least March 4 next year.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times