Are my official documents acceptable?

30th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced recently it was reviewing its policy on requiring some newcomers' official documents to be vetted more than others. The reality isn't so clear-cut.


In September 2004 the administrative law section of the Council of State, the highest administrative court of the Netherlands, ruled on two appeal cases regarding the Dutch policy on legalisation and verification of official documents from India, Pakistan, Nigeria, the Dominican Republic and Ghana. The two decisions of the Council of State had direct consequences for the above-mentioned policy.

The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Bot, who is responsible for legalisation and verification by Dutch embassies and Dutch consulates abroad, subsequently sent a letter to De Tweede Kamer (House of Representatives) to inform MPs that the Dutch policy on legalisation and verification of documents from the five countries will be reviewed.

Meanwhile, the old policy is rescinded, he said, and Dutch diplomatic posts abroad should process legalisation applications regarding official documents without previous verification.

The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), part of the Ministry of Justice, is not impressed, neither by the rulings of the Council of State nor by Bot's letter.

Recently, I found out that the IND still demands fully legalised and verified foreign documents from India, Ghana, Pakistan, Nigeria and the Dominican Republic. The IND's reasoning is that until the IND and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have reached an agreement, the old policy remains in force.

This is a genuine catch 22 situation. On the one hand the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is no longer willing to implement the old policy. On the other the IND still demands 'old style' legalisation and verification.

It is expected that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will unveil a new policy in January 2005. Until then, Dutch municipalities (responsible for registering foreign documents in the gemeentelijke basisadministratie persoonsgegevens GBA) have been advised to freeze acceptance of official documents from India, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

More food for thought

The central employment office of the Netherlands (CWI) has published information regarding the number of work permit issued to Dutch employers of citizens of eight of the 10 new EU member states: Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Slovakia.

Employers of citizens of Malta and Cyprus do not require Dutch work permits.

A total of 22,000 work permits was issued to citizens from the group of eight from 1 May 2004 to October 2004. This amounts to an increase of 300 percent if compared with the same period in 2003. Most beneficiaries of the above-mentioned work permits were Polish nationals (16,300 work permits, mostly for the jobs in agriculture and horticulture).

The CWI issued a total of 9,300 work permits to Dutch employers of citizens from the eight countries with regard to the following occupations: international lorry drivers (international transport), sailors and steersmen (inland navigation), radio-therapeutic laboratory workers, radio-diagnostic laboratory workers and operating room assistants (health care sector), butchers and boners (slaughter houses and meat processing industry).

The Dutch employers applied for work permits for these occupations based on the simplified procedure in which no mandatory registration or recruitment efforts were required.

30 November 2004

[Copyright Expatica 2004]  

Patrick R. Rovers, 
lawyer with Van Velzen CS

This column is for informative purposes only, is general in nature, and is not intended to be a substitute for competent legal and professional advice. Dutch and European rules and regulations regarding foreigners, policies, procedures, work permits, visas, residence permits etc. are continuously subject to change.

Write to Patrick Rovers and Hans van Velzen

Subject: Dutch residence permits + living in the Netherlands + working in Holland 

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