Dutch passport in sight for large group of minors with general pardon

Asylum seekers who were underage when a general pardon was declared in 2007 have to meet less stringent requirements to obtain a Dutch passport. That writes Secretary of State Ankie Broekers-Knol of Justice and Security in a letter to the House of Representatives. Last week the Chamber adopted a motion from SP-member Jasper van Dijk and CDA member Madeleine van Toorenburg.

The issue has been going on for years. Due to the general pardon, a specific group of some 27,000 asylum seekers received a residence permit in 2007. Normally, after five years they would be eligible for a Dutch passport, but in the meantime the rules for obtaining a passport were tightened. For example, asylum seekers had to be able to produce a foreign passport or other proof of foreign nationality and a birth certificate.

This proved impossible for some 10,000 out of 27,000 asylum seekers. However, the Second Chamber and also the National Ombudsman came up with successive cabinets against unwillingness to find a solution for this group. The Cabinet always felt that the rules were necessary to establish a persons identity with certainty.

30 percent

Broekers-Knol is now abandoning the passport and birth certificate requirement, but only for those who were at the time of the general pardon and are now of majority. According to Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland, this concerns about 30 percent of the group. For those who were the age of majority at that time, a decision will be taken at a later date. The ministry is now investigating how to deal with that group.

Refugee Work The Netherlands calls on the Secretary of State to remove the document requirements for the group of adults as well.