Dutch Parliament has voted to suspend the deportation of young asylum seekers who have been in the Netherlands longer than five years at least until a new government is formed.
The vote was taken on Thursday during the first parliamentary sitting since last week’s elections. Earlier this year, a bill was put forward that would grant residency to refugees under 18 who had been in the Netherlands for eight years or more. There was insufficient support for the proposal in the previous parliament, but now there would be a majority.
The 'children’s amnesty', as it’s become known, is one of the issues to be discussed during negotiations over forming a new cabinet between the Liberals (VVD) and the Labour Party (PvdA) . The VVD, which was the winner of the 12 September elections, is opposed to the measure, but PvdA leader Diederik Samsom hopes he will be able to convince Prime Minister Mark Rutte to change his position.
The Christian Union (CU) party submitted a motion to parliament to ensure that no children be deported while the coalition negotiations are underway, and this motion was adopted.
It is believed there are between 600 and 800 young asylum seekers in the Netherlands who would qualify for the children’s amnesty. In favour of such a measure are authorities in the country's four largest cities – Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht – and dozens of smaller municipalities.