Expatica news

Dual nationality muddle looms for expat children

31 August 2004

AMSTERDAM — Looming legislation forcing many expats who take out Dutch nationality when marrying their native-born partner in the Netherlands could end up creating families with both dual national and single status children.

The draft legislative proposal agreed on by the Dutch Cabinet on 27 August is designed to stimulate the integration of immigrants in the Netherlands and create families with just the Dutch nationality.

Politicians and observers alike believe Parliament will ratify the legislation and it is expected to come into force in 2005.

Under the proposal drawn up by Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, foreigners who marry their Dutch partner and take on Dutch citizenship will lose the citizenship of their country of origin.

A Justice Ministry spokeswoman confirmed to Expatica on Tuesday that foreign nationals and their Dutch partners who already have a child or children with dual nationality face the prospect in the future that any subsequent children will only have the Dutch nationality.

If, for example, an expat marries his or her Dutch partner, he or she will lose their original citizenship when taking on Dutch citizenship. Because both parents will then only have the Dutch nationality, subsequent children will only gain Dutch nationality.

The legislation will not be backdated. This means children already with dual national status will not be deprived of that status, creating a situation in which children of one family could have different citizenship status.

The ministry spokeswoman admitted that this situation contradicted the government’s aim of creating families with just one nationality. But she asserted that in the long-term, families will eventually only have one nationality.

Under the legislative proposal, expats from almost 100 nations that allow citizens to give up their citizenship will lose their original nationality when taking out Dutch nationality after marrying their Dutch partner.

Foreigners from 17 other nations which do not allow their citizens to lose their original nationality — Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Greece, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Morocco, Mexico, Nauru, Syria, Tunisia and Uruguay —  will be able to gain dual national status when being naturalised in the Netherlands.

The Dutch government is obliged to respect international law and thus cannot force someone to give up their nationality if their country of origin forbids that.

With the Netherlands in the midst of a crackdown against immigration and actively forcing the integration of immigrants — with particular reference to Turkish, Moroccan and Antillean nationals — it is noteworthy to identify the fact that Morocco is one of the countries that prevents its citizens from losing citizenship.

The Justice Ministry spokeswoman stressed that the Netherlands’ was bound by international law. But she refused to comment upon questioning whether it was a good situation in which legislation stemming in part from integration problems encountered with Moroccans will not affect Moroccans as it will other nationals.

Furthermore, the spokeswoman did not have at easy disposal a list to quickly identify the 100 countries that allow its citizens to give up their original nationality.

Upon questioning, she admitted that the ministry must have the list somewhere, but said she would need to make further inquiries. It therefore cannot be immediately confirmed which expats who intend to stay permanently in the Netherlands face losing their original citizenship if they take on Dutch citizenship.

The Netherlands has encountered strong social polarisation problems in recent years and the Christian Democrat CDA, Liberal VVD and Democrat D66 coalition government believes the integration of foreigners and the restriction of immigration will help ease society tension.
These were views expressed before and after the rise and fall of Pim Fortuyn — the anti-immigrant politician shot down in Hilversum in May 2002 — but his then politically-incorrect policies have largely become the present day politically-correct.

The Dutch government is thus moving towards the compulsory integration of new and long-term immigrants and will deport some 26,000 asylum seekers in coming years.

It is also set to become the first country to legislate compulsory pre-arrival integration courses for would-be permanent immigrants wanting to join their Dutch partner in the Netherlands.

EU nationals plus US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and Japanese expats joining their Dutch partners in the Netherlands are exempt from the requirement because of various treaties agreed on with the Dutch government.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news