Cabinet wants judges to suspend decision on refugee family reunification
The Cabinet will ask the Council of State to suspend the rulings issued by several courts that definitively stated that family members of people with refugee status may enter the Netherlands. In doing so, the judges essentially tossed out the Cabinet's restrictions on allowing the family members to travel to the Netherlands.
The Cabinet filed an application for an injunction against the lower court rulings with the Council of State. It initiated this step in anticipation of a planned appeal process, which State Secretary Eric van der Burg for asylum policy already announced on Friday.
This concerned refugee status holders who were plaintiffs in four different court cases ruled on last week. Each of the courts ruled that the restriction imposed by the government on family reunification violated the law. As a result, the courts said the family members of the refugee status holders who had gone to court over the issue were allowed to enter the Netherlands. However, the state secretary wants to put a stop to that, according to a letter he wrote to the Tweede Kamer on Tuesday.
The refugee advocacy group, VluchtelingenWerk Nederland, said it was not surprised that the Cabinet is seeking legal action to delay the arrival of the family members. "We have already taken this into account. It's a pity that it had to come like this," a spokesperson for the organization said.
The administrative law department of the Council of State will decide on the injunction Thursday afternoon or Friday morning, according to a Council of State spokesperson. The Council will issue a full ruling on the Cabinet's appeal in January. No hearing dates have yet been announced.
In anticipation of the preliminary injunction, the Council of State decided that Van der Burg did not have to immediately issue entry documents for family members of a Turkish refugee status holder. The Amsterdam court ruled on Friday afternoon that such a temporary residence permit (mvv) for the family members must be issued within 24 hours. This may still be necessary if the Council of State rejects the request for a temporary injunction.
The Cabinet decided at the end of August to impose the entry delay on family members of recognized refugees. The Cabinet gave the government a maximum of 15 months to issue visas after the submission of the application for family reunification. However, if the refugee status holder already has housing secured for his or her family members, the visa will be granted earlier. The measure is temporary and intended to last next year as a way of relieving the pressure on the overburdened asylum system, according to the Cabinet.
Van der Burg announced on Friday that he would appeal to the Council of State, the highest administrative court, after lower courts again ruled that the entry restriction violated numerous national and international conventions. Therefore, the Cabinet wants a definitive answer from the Council of State whether the regulation is legally tenable or not.
Reporting by ANP