Recently a new client visited me with a serious yet not uncommon problem. She holds a residence permit based on her relationship with a Dutch national. The relationship had ended a while ago and the client did not know what to do next.
During the meeting, I learned that the client was completely oblivious of the obligations, including “Inburgering” that went along with her residential status. In the case of this client all ended well but it could have gone seriously wrong.
To avoid such potential problems, I want to inform readers about the basic obligations one has because of a residence permit. Last but not least, I will explain why it is so important to fulfill the obligation of “Inburgering”.
The first obligation
During the application procedure, one must fully and honestly provide the Immigration Authority, hereafter IND, all information that are directly or indirectly relevant for the decision of the application. Withholding information equals providing false information. Sometimes people think that “embellishing” their case with little white lies is a good idea; this is a mistake.
The single fact that one has submitted false information, including withholding information, is in itself a valid reason to reject an application – even if that information, when truthfully submitted, had not justified rejection of the application.
This obligation remains applicable throughout the period one holds a residence permit. If the IND has granted the residential status, but finds out years later that one has provided false information; that is a valid reason to withdraw the residence permit.
The second obligation
After one has been granted a residence permit based on the truth, the full truth and nothing but the truth, one is still under the obligation to provide the IND with all relevant information about changes in one’s personal situation. For instance, if one has a permit to stay with a husband, and the husband loses his job, the IND must be informed. If there is a divorce, one must inform the IND. One may think that it is better not to inform the IND to avoid problems.
That is not the case.
After a while the IND will find out anyway; so it then turns out one has not been fulfilling the obligation to provide the IND with all relevant information. This will likely be held against you. The permit can be withdrawn with hindsight to the date the change of circumstances took place. If that date is more than two years back, one cannot re-apply without returning to one’s country of origin to apply for an authorization for temporary stay; so this might cause a serious problem.
It is therefore important to be aware of the obligation to provide information about changes in one’s personal situation to avoid worse problems.
The third obligation
One is obliged to “Inburgering” which means that you have to learn the Dutch language and one must pass an exam about the culture and the way the Dutch society works. This is not so difficult and for a migrant who wants to build a successful life in this country, these skills are really required. Sadly, a course to learn these skills is sometimes rather expensive but there are options for a very sympathetic loan. For information go to www.inburgeren.nl and see what is possible.
For more information about “Inburgering” go to www.Inburgeringswet.nl to read the law that is applicable. The Inburgeringswet, article 7 is clear. From the date one holds the residential status, one has three years to pass the exam. Prolongation is possible but only under specific circumstances. Article 31 of the Inburgeringswet says that if one does not fulfill this obligation, one will get a fine of Euro 1.250.- which in itself is bad enough; another problem.
The real problem
The real problem is not the fine; it is the prolongation of one’s residence in The Netherlands.
If one holds a residential status, for example to stay with a husband, and asks for prolongation of the permit to stay with the husband, that will be granted, even without “inburgeringsdiploma”. One gets a fine, it hurts but that’s all.
However, when the marriage or the relation breaks up, one needs to apply for an independent permit for prolonged stay. That permit will be rejected if one has not passed the “Inburgeringsexamen”.
Also for that reason it is so important that migrants who hold a residence permit to stay with partner/husband actively seek for an Inburgeringscursus and pass the “Inburgeringsexamen”. If you don’t do so, under the present law you will not be able to get an independent permit.
Already, there are rather a lot of people who got into this situation and their cases are not hopeless since this law might not be applicable because of EU-legislation, but a wise migrant does not want to end up in a mighty interesting legal battle with the IND.
For those who already end up in this situation, there is hope. The Raad van State asked on the 10th of May 2017 the EU court for a legal advice about the question if the national law of The Netherlands in cases like this is in conflict with the EU law that says that after five years of legal residence, a migrant is in general entitled to an independent residential status. For those who are interested in this matter check for the ruling by searching on “ECLI:NL:RVS:2017:1252”.
Since the outcome of this procedure is uncertain and might take a lot of time, my advice is to start with inburgering anyway and as soon as possible. However, if one is in a problem as mentioned above, get informed and take action.
How to get information?
A good source is Het Juridisch Loket. Go to www.juridischloket.nl for information and call the loket for advise and if needed an appointment. Also one can visit www.ind.nl for more information about the requirements. Another option is to visit my website www.Advocatenkantoorkleijweg.nl and send me an e-mail. Also one can connect with me on Linked In. If there are relevant changes I will post a message and then one is up-to-date.
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, Advocatenkantoor Kleijweg, Koninginnegracht 22 A, 2514 AB Den Haag
Tel: +31 (70) 317 7700 / www.advocatenkantooorkleijweg.nl / firstname.lastname@example.org