Expatica news

Expats face ‘chaos’ in 2004 over permits

19 December 2003

AMSTERDAM — Would-be expats and immigrants planning to move to the Netherlands in 2004 face longer delays and bad service. The problem lies with the chaotic transfer of responsibility for residence permits to the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), it has been claimed.

Liberal-Christian newspaper Trouw reported claims on 19 December that the IND has already built up a backlog of 4,000 applications, relating to permit applications, in the Amsterdam-Amstelland region since taking over the work.

Earlier this month the job of processing residence applications was taken away from local municipal councils and the vreemdelingenpolitie, or Foreign Police. The IND has since claimed the backlog of applications in the Amsterdam region is normal.

The Immigration and Integration Ministry, under former minister Hilbrand Nawijn and his successor Rita Verdonk, championed the move as a way of tightening the control on who gets into the country and to make the process more efficient.

But transferring new responsibility also comes as some 2,000 people — who have been waiting five years or more for a decision on their applications for asylum — will be informed before the end of the year that they will be granted a residence permit under a “special amnesty”.

The amnesty was devised to help clear the massive backlog of cases that has built up over the years. And despite the backlog, the IND will now be saddled with more work.

Opponents of the transfer of responsibility to the IND also point out the Dutch Ombudsman severely criticised the immigration service in 2003 for providing a bad service.

Trouw warned on Friday that the level of service is expected to get even worse in 2004 as the agency labours under its increased responsibilities.

The newspaper reported IND officials have admitted “dropping the ball occasionally”, but are nevertheless “not dissatisfied” with their performance.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Dutch news + Dutch residence permit applications