The Hague – A new series of measures to stem the influx of foreign brides and grooms was introduced by the Dutch justice minister, Ernst Hirsch Ballin, on Friday.
Under the new policy, and marriages between cousins, aunts and uncles would be banned and would-be marriage migrants have to be at least 18 years old.
Dutch nationals or residents who want to bring their partners to the Netherlands may also have to first take the integration exam.
in order to prevent marriages of convenience, liaison officers from the immigration services will be stationed at the Dutch embassies of the countries of origin. They will simultaneously interview both partners if their marriage is deemed as suspicious.
Ballin who described the new policy as "strict but fair" said: "We want to prevent girls being brought to the Netherlands under duress."
The number of import marriages rose by 30 percent in the past year to 15,000 despite having fallen in previous years.
"Society is coming under growing pressure," said Integration Minister Eberhard van der Laan.
Protecting would-be marriage migrants
‘Import bride’ is a term used in connection with marriages between Dutch residents of foreign origin – particularly from Turkey and Morocco, but increasingly also Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia – and people from their respective countries. There are concerns that such marriages are an obstacle to the integration of ethnic minorities into Dutch society.
The new rules are meant to protect the Dutch society and the women themselves, said Van der Laan. Import brides often end up in a subservient and dependent position once in the Netherlands.
"Because of their lack of knowledge of the Dutch language, their low level of education and unfamiliarity with institutions, there is a risk that these women will not be adequately able to bring up their children to be proper citizens," Van der Laan said.
This can lead to children dropping out of school, causing nuisance, or in the worst case scenario, turning to crime, the minister said.
Under the new system, potential import brides and grooms will have to meet higher criteria for command of the Dutch language.
The civic integration exam, which would-be marriage migrants have to pass before being admitted to the Netherlands, is to be made more difficult. They will also have to participate in job training once in the Netherlands.
Radio Netherlands / Expatica