What immigration lawyers run into on a daily basis in the Netherlands

4 min read

The Immigration and Naturalization Service has promised to process all old asylum applications before the summer. But immigration lawyers see that a lack of file knowledge and inefficient planning are getting in the way of achieving that goal. A number of examples from practice.

Sanderijn Wierink, Hamerslag & Van Haren Lawyers

One of her clients, a Syrian refugee, said during an interrogation that he could still lead a normal life in the early years of the unrest in his village. “That cannot be what you are saying now, because there has been a civil war in Syria since 2011,” replied the official. “You then see misunderstandings,” says Sanderijn Wierink. “Because the civil servant does not know how the conflict developed.”

Another client, an Eritrean man, already applied for asylum in 2018. Only in November 2020 could he tell his story to the IND. The man still does not know whether he will be granted asylum. Wierink went to court three times to bring the IND to a decision. Three times the judge ordered the IND to make a decision within a certain period. Without result. It also creates inequality, says Wierink. Others who have just applied for asylum in the Netherlands have already received a decision on their application.

Peter van Schijndel, Nolet lawyers

It was actually a very clear case, according to immigration lawyer Peter van Schijndel himself. His client, a man from Pakistan, had fallen for his neighbor. The two were not married, but secretly had sex. The girl’s father found out and shot her, he fled the country.

That dreaded honor killing gave him quite a chance for asylum, says Van Schijndel. But when the man tells his story at the IND, the official seems mainly interested in the sex party. She wants to know in detail what sex they had. “Those are questions that we have not been allowed to ask for years,” her multiple told her after the interrogation. Van Schijndel: “The lack of experience ensures that people ask questions that should not be asked. Or does not ask questions that should be asked. “

Jo-Anne Nijland, Van Doorn and others lawyers

Jo-Anne Nijland’s client already applied for asylum in March 2019. She fled from a North African country because she is transgender: she was born a man, but goes through life as a woman. She was also an activist in her own country. Prior to her interview with the IND, Nijland sends several letters and e-mails to the service in which she explains that it is a complicated case. Because interviews with transgender people take longer, are more complex and can only be carried out by experienced civil servants.

But when her client is finally allowed to tell her story at the IND after a year and a half, she finds an inexperienced hearing assistant and an interpreter who invariably addresses her as ‘he’. The hearing employee hardly has any questions about her transsexuality. Instead, he wants to know everything about her job at the police. “Not relevant at all,” says Nijland. She files a complaint with the IND, but receives no response. Three months later her client receives a follow-up interview. But she is still waiting for a judgment from the service.

Marq Vineyards, Prakken d’Oliveira

At least ten of his clients have been waiting for an answer from the IND for one and a half to two years. “I recently transferred 51,000 euros to a client,” says Marq Wijngaarden. An amount of penalty payments that the IND had to pay because the service failed to assess the client’s case twice for five months. Going to court is the only means available to asylum seekers to force the IND to move.

Wijngaarden has recently filed an appeal for the third time. It is crying with the cap on, he says about the chaos at the IND. Especially when the special task force of State Secretary Ankie-Broekers-Knol just started. Refugees were invited to two interviews, at the same times, but at different locations. Or interviews were suddenly canceled at all. Now, among other things, he is faced with interrogations with his clients taking a day longer than normal. “This is happening at a time when the asylum influx has decreased by a third. And the IND is still not succeeding in clearing the backlogs quickly, ”says Wijngaarden.

This article has been translated from multiple sources in Dutch to help asylum seekers conditions. We can not confirm nor deny any information and we don’t own the content.

About Post Author