Poor inspections of foreign documents
10 May 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government is not inspecting foreign marriage and birth certificates stringently enough, allowing some immigrants and criminals to have themselves fraudulently entered into local council population registers with forged documents.
10 May 2005
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government is not inspecting foreign marriage and birth certificates stringently enough, allowing some immigrants and criminals to have themselves fraudulently entered into local council population registers with forged documents.
Registering with the municipality gives Dutch residents access to social services, rent subsidies, child allowance, study allowances and other government benefits.
According to television show Nova, the inadequate inspections are due to a conflict between the Foreign Affairs Ministry and municipal authorities over who should pay for the inspections.
Citing a September 2004 decision by the Council of State, a ministry spokesman said verification of the documents is the responsibility of local councils. He also said the responsible authority must pay the costs.
Dutch embassies are checking documents at the request of councils, but until recently, stringent checks were only made on certificates from the Dominican Republic, India, Pakistan, Ghana and Nigeria because forgery of official documents is considered to be common in these countries.
However, a foreign ministry letter indicates that there are problems with many other countries, including Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to the Dutch association of civilian affairs NVVB, it costs EUR 48 million annually to inspect the documents. "At this moment, there are a number of municipalities that have said: we are not dealing with the certificates," chairman Cees Meesters said.
He also said some councils accepted marriage and birth certificates anyway to not disadvantage non-fraudulent newcomers.
The Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) said thousands of forged certificates are handed in to the population register every year. Experts have estimated the total number at 10,000.
An OM spokesman said the forged documents are not only being handed over by fraudulent immigrants, but also by criminals guilty of crimes ranging from theft to more serious offences such as murder or war crimes.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news