IND blasted as permit complaints soar

21st June 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 June 2005AMSTERDAM — The Dutch immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) have been severely criticised in new hard-hitting reports.

21 June 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) have been severely criticised in new hard-hitting reports.

The two reports were drawn up by the office of the national Ombudsman, which is chaired by Roel Fernhout, and were sent to Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk on Tuesday.

Echoing frequent frustrations voiced by expats, the Ombudsman accuses the IND of serious failings in the way it grants residence permits and delays with applications to renew or extend permits.

The Ombudsman also found that the IND's complaints procedures leave a lot to be desired, news agency ANP reported.

For several years now, the majority of the complaints received by the Ombudsman's office relate to the IND. There were a total of 1,775 complaints lodged with the ombudsman's office about the IND last year, 386 more than in 2003.

As a result the Ombudsman launched a two-pronged investigation into the problems at the IND last year.

The investigations confirmed that the transfer of administrative tasks from the Aliens Police (Vreemdelingenpolitie) to the IND in April 2004 led to serious delays in the processing of applications for residence permits. The IND was difficult to contact as a result, the reports found.

The Ombudsman said there were also problems with the extension of residence permits. Three months before a permit is due to expire the IND is supposed to automatically send a application form for renewal to the holder.

But the IND is often not in a position to process the renewal application within the three months prior to the expiry of the current permit.  

The Ombudsman criticised Minister Verdonk as not being "fair" for falling back on the legal requirement to handle applications within six months. He said applicants should receive their new permit to coincide with the validity date on the previous one.

The "bad service", the Ombudsman said, was in stark contrast to the decision to charge higher fees (leges) for permit extensions.

The report also stated that Minister Verdonk did not sufficient means to monitor the permit process and it advises her to take steps to remedy this.

The Ombudsman also reserved some hard words for the IND's much-used complaints procedures. There were "big problems" at all stages of the complaints process and the IND regularly wrongly dismissed complaints as "obviously unfounded".

The reports also referred to complaints by applicants that there initial complaints about the IND's handling of their case were not even acknowledged, or the response was too late, superficial or vague.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news, IND, Dutch residence permits 

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