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Family migration with young adult children

By Romy Hol, last update 19 June 2024

In the Netherlands, family migration is in principle only possible for partners and minor children. Other family members, including adult children, are subject to a strict test under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This article protects the right to a person’s private and family life. In the application procedure for a residence permit, it is first determined whether family life falls under the protection of Article 8 ECHR. A “normal” bond between a parent and an adult child is not sufficient for this. There must be a more than usual dependency. The bar for assuming this is high. Next, the State Secretary will weigh the interests of the parent and the young adult child to exercise their right to have their family life respected in the Netherlands against the (economic) interests of the Dutch government.

There is a specific policy for young adults between the ages of 18 and about 25 who live with their parents, are not financially independent and have not formed their own families. Applications filed by highly skilled migrants for their young adult children were rejected only if the State Secretary found that the conditions were not met. For example, if the young adult no longer lived with the parents or was financially independent. The balance of interests was in favor of the family if the criteria of the young adult policy were met.

Since September 2022, this is no longer automatically the case. The State Secretary takes less account of the fact that a parent is staying in the Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant and thus is making a positive contribution to the Dutch economy.

The fact that the young adult would like to use public facilities in the future is also weighed against the foreign national in the weighing of interests. These include education, health care or housing. In addition, the State Secretary considers whether family life can be continued at a distance (for example, through video calls or short visits), the young adult’s ties with the Netherlands compared to the country of origin are considered, and whether there is an obstacle to (continuing to) live in the country of origin.

This policy change has resulted in rejections of applications that previously would likely have been approved. The Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State has recently ruled in three young adult policy cases on May 29, 2024. In these court rulings the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State has confirmed that the State Secretary is allowed to make a balance of interest even when the young adult meets the requirements of the young adult policy. This means that even if the young adult meets all requirements, a balance of interest will be made. In practice we have seen that the State Secretary will make a very strict assessment of the interests involved, which makes it a lot harder for a young adult to receive a residence permit based on the young adult policy.

For young adults with a parent holding the nationality of one of the member states of the European Union, other than the Dutch nationality, a more lenient review criterion applies. They can stay with their parents in the Netherlands if they are financially dependent on their parents for support.

Do you have questions regarding the possibilities for family reunification with your young adult child? Please contact us.

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