Lawyers should not only try to get people out of trouble, in my opinion they also are supposed to prevent that people get in trouble. Therefore in this article, I will give a clear warning about a recent change in migration law that does not only affect the migrant, but also his family members and employers past and present.
After that warning, I will explain how a lawyer is supposed to behave towards his clients if these clients potentially are entitled to subsidised legal aid.
For whom is this article relevant?
This article is relevant for migrants and everyone who was or is in any relationship with a migrant. The other part is relevant for anyone who has to deal with lawyers in any field of law, not only migration law.
Why a warning?
Since the 1st of May 2018, there is a new article implemented in The Aliens Act 2000. It is article 55 A that says one can get a fine if one does not comply with legal obligations following several articles from the Aliens Act. For those interested, search the web for “Artikel 55 A Vreemdelingenwet” and you will see the text of the law.
What it comes down to is that the Minister of Justice now can fine people for not fulfilling specific obligations. Think of the obligation to report himself after entry of The Netherlands, to keep the Immigration Authority updated about the fact that one moves from one address to another, also if ones relation breaks up, providing ones photo and fingerprints, providing
information demanded by the Immigration Authority in the process of an application and such sort of things.
In the past there was no fine applicable for that. Now one risks a fine of Euro 1.500.- for a person and Euro 3.000.- for a company.
So, be aware of this and make sure that one provides the relevant information and keep evidence of the fact you did. My advice is not to rely on a phone call but to do things by mail and to keep copies of everything.
What can be done if I get fined?
It depends on the case. First thing the Immigration Authority will do is to write a letter, a so called “voornemen” in which you are told that it’s the intention to fine you for a certain fact. You are requested to give your opinion with the arguments and evidence that support your opinion that you should not be fined. I advise people to seek legal support from that moment
and not to wait until there is the decision to issue the fine.
If there is such a decision then one could consider to file an appeal against the decision. Since the fine is rather hefty, there will be subsidised legal aid available for these cases. For these cases one should consult a specialised migration lawyer because migration law is at the core of the problem.
What does such a lawyer cost?
That depends on your personal circumstances and your income. For most of the people there is subsidised legal aid available. For more information go to the web and search “Gesubsidieerde rechtsbijstand”.
Although a lawyer is not legally obliged to provide services on the basis of subsidised legal aid, the lawyer is obliged to tell his client that he or she might be entitled to it. If the lawyer does not inform you about this possibility that is not a good sign because the lawyer might not be an Advocaat or he might not be even basically qualified let alone specialised in migration law. Only if one is an Advocaat and basically qualified in migration law the government enables the advocaat to work on the basis of subsidised legal aid. The government pays for it so a basic quality level is demanded.
So, if the lawyer does not tell you, think twice before making use of this lawyers services and paying his full fee yourself.
What to do when you want to visit our office?
Readers who are in need of legal support are welcome to visit our office for free consultation. This of course, only after you made an appointment. For an appointment call 070 427 3215 and explain to our Secretary what your question is.
Do not hold information back because our Secretary will decide if and when an appointment is possible and which of our lawyers is best qualified for the specific problem.
When you come to the appointment, bring all information that is available. Only then can we judge the case and do make good use of the time.
*A.G. Kleijweg ǀ Advocatenkantoor Kleijweg, Koninginnegracht 22 A, 2514 AB Den Haag ǀ Tel: +31 (70) 317 7700 ǀ www.advocatenkantooorkleijweg.nl ǀ firstname.lastname@example.org