Readers’ feedback and more!

Dear Readers.

First of all I want to thank those readers who contacted me and gave me feedback about the articles I wrote. The more I learn from the readers the better, so please keep informing me.

From the feedback I learned that maybe sometimes the articles are a bit too juridical for the readers taste, so let me try and improve on that.

The main question and answer

Many readers are wondering what rights irregular migrants and those who did not migrate but stayed in Africa actually have in The Netherlands. Do they have access to the legal system? Are they protected by the state?

The answer might surprise because often they have the same right as people with the nationality of The Netherlands.

For whom is this article?

This article is written for all readers – in Africa, in The Netherlands or somewhere else in the world, with or without residential status. Of course the access to the legal system is only relevant for those who have a realistic need for that access. The same is applicable to protection by the state. So only those with a realistic claim ask for legal support. What sort of claims it concerns is not limited to a specific subject.  So far, this is the juridical description of the matter.

In practical terms, what are we talking about?

Important is protection against crime. If you are an irregular migrant and you become a victim if crime you should be able to visit the police and file a complaint about the crime committed against you. You will not be arrested as long as you are not a suspect of an offence. If you are not sure the police in your hometown is following this protocol, call them on this line 0900-8844.

Also important is getting paid for your labour. For an irregular migrant it is not an offence to work but employers that often abuse them by underpaying them. So, if you work and do not get paid enough or not at all, you might want to ask the court for a judgment to enforce payment.  Even if you are an irregular, that is not a problem.

In the old days in The Netherlands, even an irregular worker could work and build up some retirement pension by contributing to pension funds. Those pensions will be paid from the moment of retirement at the age of 65+. This is also the case when the beneficiary of the pension has returned to Africa. So, why not ask the pension funds for that?

Maybe surprising but very important is the example of a woman. Imagine she meets a man with the Dutch nationality, the lady gets pregnant and a child gets born.

The man is not a gentleman, does not bother to acknowledge the child or even deny fatherhood. Neither is he willing to provide a financial contribution for the upbringing of the child.

It does not matter whether this woman has the Dutch nationality, if she is an irregular migrant or living is Africa, if she has reasonable arguments that the man is the father, she can take action. She can ask the court in The Netherlands to establish that the man is the father of the child and she can claim alimony (alimentatie) for the child.

Imagine what benefits this brings for the child. It will be a Dutch national by birth, is entitled to alimony, will inherit from the father, is allowed to live in The Netherlands, study here and the mother is most likely entitled to reside in The Netherlands to take care of the child.

There are more examples to think of, but the point has been made. If one has a reasonable claim, it is worth trying to effectively make the claim.

How to make the claim?

Our office is creating a solution for those with genuine claims. It is a long and complicated story to describe the solution so I will not.  It works as follows:

Start by sending our office an e-mail at explaining the situation you are in and why you believe you have a valid claim. If possible provide some evidence supporting your claim. Mention your address and contact details so we can send you a reply. If you cannot mail, please send a fax or a letter. Calling us is possible, but only if there is no other option available.

We will study the message to see what can be done for you. If we need more information, we will ask for it. Based on the information gathered we will give an advise if there is a case and if so, how to proceed. Also we will inform you about the question if subsidized legal aid is available and if there are costs involved and if so, how much. You will not be charged for sending us a message and for the answer we give.

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 ǀ