Hirsch Ballin defines distressing case

22nd February 2007, Comments 0 comments

22 February 2007, AMSTERDAM – A limited group of asylum seekers who still want to be considered for a residence permit on the basis of the ‘distressing circumstances’ of their case must demonstrate that there are convincing humanitarian reasons for them to be granted asylum. These reasons could include serious medical problems or the threat of a family being broken up, if a child has been granted permission to stay while a parent hasn’t for instance.

22 February 2007

AMSTERDAM – A limited group of asylum seekers who still want to be considered for a residence permit on the basis of the ‘distressing circumstances’ of their case must demonstrate that there are convincing humanitarian reasons for them to be granted asylum. These reasons could include serious medical problems or the threat of a family being broken up, if a child has been granted permission to stay while a parent hasn’t for instance.

Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin informed Parliament on Wednesday about the conditions under which asylum seekers may qualify as distressing cases. The Council of State had ruled at the end of last year that Hirsch Ballin’s predecessor on the immigration dossier, Rita Verdonk, had not defined clearly enough the criteria her department used to reject asylum seekers who had applied as ‘distressing cases.’

The Socialist party SP had subsequently posed questions in Parliament to get clarity on the definition of a distressing case. The minister has a special (discretionary) power to grant people residence status if their case is deemed ‘distressing.’

The minister uses this power in deciding on the so-called ‘14/1 requests.’ This term refers to the letters received by the justice department after former Minister Hilbrand Nawijn asked that asylum seekers with distressing cases notify him. Almost 19,000 letters were received between 2003 and 2005 from people who thought their case was distressing enough to warrant a special residence permit.

Hirsch Ballin is looking at each application individually. The circumstances of the case must be unique to be considered a ‘distressing case’ and the application must have been received before 18 March 2005. The asylum seekers must also have been living in the Netherlands for at least five years.

Applicants are less likely to be granted a permit on these grounds if they failed to cooperate with efforts to repatriate them. Anyone who has been convicted of a violent crime or poses a danger to national security has no chance of being considered a distressing case.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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