Long-term Irregular Migrants claim to Residence Permit

By A. G. Kleijweg*

Dear Readers,

This article is intended to inform readers about their legal status and options but will prove to be a request for information on my behalf. First let me provide some information.

As explained in previous articles, countries are not only ruled on the basis of national law, but that several sources of international law such as the European Convention for Human Rights, hereafter ECHR, apply. For more information just search the web and start with www.echr.coe.int. Also see www.ind.nl and www.juridischloket.nl. Be inquisitive always!

For whom is this article?

This article is aimed at the irregular immigrants who are in The Netherlands for a long time; let’s say about thirty years or more. Often these people are known to the authorities but no action was taken against them. They were not expelled when immigration laws were not so strict as nowadays and the result is an old irregular immigrant who lost touch with his country of origin. This article is written for this group of people.

What is the situation in The Netherlands?

Immigration law in The Netherlands is restrictive and the immigration authority has the policy that irregular stay of any duration does not give, at any time, a right to a residential status. This policy is legally acceptable since it follows the necessary control and restriction of migration. However, sometimes the policy is too strict.

Under very specific circumstances, long term irregular stay might be the basis for a claim to a residence permit. What circumstances are relevant then? The most important ones are:

Stay of thirty years or more in the country; no criminal background; be rooted in the society; be known to the authorities; should not have left the country and certainly, residence should not be interrupted through expulsion from the country.

Meeting the above requirements certainly does not establish a right to a permit, but it becomes an option to investigate. Quick advice: As a result of this information, those who have stayed between five to twenty-five years in the country should not call to ask whether that will be enough; it is not.

What to do then?

For those who meet the above mentioned requirements is, it should be wise to investigate the possibilities and when the outcome seems positive to apply for a permit.

Those who do not meet the requirements should not apply and should reconsider their position. What to do now? Immigration law will become tougher over time and being an irregular immigrant should make those concerned think about the future. At least, weigh all possible options. Good or bad, depending on your choice, one of the options is voluntary return to the country of origin. There are lots of programmes available for that options but the choice is yours.

What can we teach the lawyer?

In the beginning, I mentioned that I need some education from the readers. As an immigration professional, I talk with other professionals and here is one thing we have in common.

What surprises everyone is the effort people put into long term irregular stay. Some pay a lot of money for everything, housing, papers and lawyers; whatever. Money is not easy to get, so people will have to work very hard under bad circumstances. What do you gain when after ten years, nothing worked and you are still an irregular migrant? Why carry on?

A general idea is that if irregular immigrants should invest all the time, money, suffering, risks, not in another ten years of irregular stay but in building a life in ones country of origin, they would most likely be rich and happy. Bear in mind that the programmes for voluntary return bring financial support and training provided for by the government.

Since I want to help my clients and to help them, I must understand them. I ask all readers of any status and of any walk of life, to educate me about the reasons why most people carry on against what I see as better judgement.

Knowledge that I can get from the readers would enable me to provide better services, so I will be grateful for all sorts of advice.

Want to visit our office?

Of course our office does not only practice immigration law, but also family law, criminal law labour law and so on. Since several lawyers work in our office with their own specialism, it is important to make clear what the problem is, so an appointment can be made with a lawyer that is qualified to handle your case.

Readers are therefore welcome to visit our office for FREE consultation and for support with the application. Have a look at our website www.skv-advocatenkantoor.nl to learn more about our office.

For an appointment call 070 427 3215 and explain to our Secretary what your question is.

To learn more about our office, you can also take a look at our web-site:

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. Balen van Andelplein 2e, 2273 KH Voorburg – 070.427.3215 – kleijweg@skv-advocatenkantoor.nl / mail@skv-advocatenkantoor.nl