The Dutch parliament has voted to suspend the deportation of young asylum seekers who have been in the Netherlands longer than 5 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 8 years or more. There was not sufficient support for the proposal in the previous parliament, but there would now be a majority.
The “children’s amnesty” as it’s become known, is one of the issues that will be discussed during negotiations between the Liberals and the Labour Party over forming a new cabinet. The liberal VVD, which was the winner of the September 12 elections, is opposed to the measure but Labour Party leader Diedrik Samsom hopes he will be able to convince Prime Minister Mark Rutte to change his position.
The Christian Union party submitted a motion to parliament to ensure that no children are 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”. The authorities in the four largest cities and dozens of smaller municipalities are in favour of such a measure.