Municipalities support general amnesty

25th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

25 May 2007, THE HAGUE – The municipalities have voiced their support for the amnesty scheme that will grant residence status to asylum seekers who entered under the old Aliens Act and have been living in the Netherlands for a long time.

25 May 2007

THE HAGUE – The municipalities have voiced their support for the amnesty scheme that will grant residence status to asylum seekers who entered under the old Aliens Act and have been living in the Netherlands for a long time.

The Association of Netherlands' Municipalities (VNG) announced on Friday that its members support the implementation of the amnesty. The administrative accord was agreed with State secretary for Justice Nebahat Albayrak last month.

 An important condition in the accord is that municipalities no longer provide shelter for asylum seekers who have exhausted the procedure and been definitively refused asylum. "The municipalities are prepared to stop providing emergency care and will do so," the VNG said on Friday. The association did add that municipalities do have a responsibility to care for people in need however.

This responsibility to provide care has been the subject of public debate in the run up to the definitive amnesty arrangement. Amsterdam alderwoman Marijke Vos writes on the website of green-left GroenLinks that stopping emergency care is a lamentable agreement.

State secretary Albayrak will discuss the definitive amnesty scheme in the cabinet meeting today. If the ministers approve the proposal it can presented in full after the meeting.

The VNG has urged repeatedly over the past few years for a more generous amnesty arrangement. The organisation is glad that "the accord will bring an end to years of uncertainty."

The municipalities will be given EUR 55 million towards housing and integration of the group in question. They still want to discuss with the state secretary what criteria will be attached to the granting of these funds however.

The amnesty will be granted to asylum seekers who applied for asylum under the old Aliens Act (before April 2001) and who can show that they were still in the Netherlands in 2006. It is still not clear how many people this includes.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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