21 April 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government is poised to crackdown on illegal residence in the Netherlands as the immigration service IND gains more manpower to track down and deport foreigners. The number of detention cells will also be increased.
In addition, the Cabinet also intends to take tougher measures against landlords that rent accommodation to illegal immigrants and against companies that employ illegal workers, newspaper De Volkskrant reported on Wednesday.
But illegal immigrants will not be deprived of healthcare and education. Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk said people deserve “decent treatment” and that medical help for children and during a pregnancy should always be supplied, RTL reported.
Coalition parties the Christian Democrat CDA, Liberal VVD and Democrat D66 had agreed in the government accord last year to crackdown on illegal immigration. The intended measures are outlined in a proposal Verdonk will present to ministers on Friday.
Researchers from the Erasmus University estimated in 2002 that between 112,000 and 163,000 illegal immigrants are living in the Netherlands on average every year.
The looming crackdown is aimed at thwarting illegal renting at exorbitant prices and means that rental contracts can be broken if inquiries indicate that landlords have rented homes out to illegal immigrants. In the case of illegal subletting, the official tenant might also lose their home.
Employers will be threatened with stiffer fines if they employ illegal workers. Social Affairs State Secretary Mark Rutte had previously announced his willingness to increase the fines from EUR 900 to EUR 3,500 per illegal worker.
More raids will thus be carried out and employers will also be forced to pay retrospective social security premiums and taxes if the illegal immigrant has worked there for six months. That bill could amount to EUR 6,000.
But against the wishes of the CDA and the Rotterdam Council, the cabinet is expected to stop short at declaring illegal immigration a criminally prosecutable offence. This would have required changes to the temporary detention system.
Government ministers who worked on the latest proposal did not wish to adjust the temporary detention system because of the existing prison cell shortage in the Netherlands.
They also said the primary goal was to deport illegal immigrants and the temporary detention prior to deportation would adequately serve as the temporary detention for illegal immigration.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news