|New rules on family reunification from 1st of July|
From the 1st of July 2012 new rules on the limitation of family reunification will come into force. The government is proposing the following changes:
1. Restriction of family reunification to married or registered partners and minor children. This means that unmarried partners, children who are over 18 and (single/widowed) family members aged 65 years and older are no longer eligible for family reunification. Dutch nationals and those living in the Netherlands with a non-European nationality must get married prior to applying for a permit for their partner. For those people who are unable to wed in their country of origin (for example those countries which forbid gay marriage) a special temporary permit to marry in the Netherlands will be introduced. These rules will not apply to EU-citizens or Dutch nationals who have exercised their EU rights (for example because they lived in another EU member state with their family members prior to living in the Netherlands).
2. A waiting period of one year for the sponsor living in the Netherlands will be introduced. This rule will not apply for family members of highly skilled migrants, EU bluecard holders, family members of EU-citizens, family members of third country nationals who are long term EU residents, refugees and Turkish nationals who derive rights from the EU association rules for Turkey.
3. Newborn children of parents who are legal residents of the Netherlands can apply for family reunification within six months pursuant to their birth outside the Netherlands.
4. After five instead of three years persons holding a residence permit for family reunification will be eligible for ‘continued residency’, an independent status of the sponsor. Different rules will apply to Turkish citizens whose residency was dependent on a Turkish citizen deriving rights from the EU association rules for Turkey.
A committee meeting in parliament about the proposed changes is scheduled for 24 April 2012. The Council of State and the Advisory Committee on Alien’s Affairs have published critical advices about the proposals. Both bodies refer to article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which protects family life. An increase of people using the so called ‘Belgium route’ is also to be expected, as the new proposals will not affect persons who fall within the ambit of EU family reunification rules. Both bodies are also critical about the governments’ reasoning for the new rules: just because it is more difficult to check the veracity of relationship than by the way of a marriage certificate, does not justify the exclusion of family reunification for unmarried partners.
Applications for provisional permission to enter (mvv) or residence permits that are lodged prior to 1 July 2012 will still be decided according to the current legislation.