At the end of June 2008, nearly 26 thousand asylumseekers in the Netherlands had been granted leave to remain in the Netherlands indefinitely based on the ‘pardon regulation’ of 2007. Most of these asylumseekers are from the former Soviet Union.
The pardon scheme
The pardon regulation came into effect on 15 June 2007 and was intended to put a stop to asylum procedures that often ran into years. Under the scheme, a residence permit is granted to asylumseekers who fulfil a number of conditions, who had filed their application for asylum under the former Aliens Act and who were still living in the Netherlands. Most of these applications for asylum had been filed in the period 1997 to the first quarter of 2001.
Nearly 35 thousand dossiers assessed
From June 2007 to June 2008 the Immigration and Naturalisation Department (IND) assessed the dossiers of around 34.7 thousand asylumseekers. These included some 5.4 thousand persons registered through a mayor’s declaration. They were no longer known at the IND because their case had been closed or because they were no longer living in accommodation provided by the government.
Number of pardon permits granted, by main nationalities
Nearly 26 thousand pardonees
Nearly 26 thousand asylumseekers were granted a residence permit. Over one quarter of these pardon permits were granted to people from the former Soviet Union and former Yugoslavia. In addition, relatively many people from Afghanistan and Iraq received a residence permit.
Around 6 thousand asylumseekers were not eligible for the pardon scheme. They were not granted leave to stay indefinitely because they had not stayed in the Netherlands continuously, were a threat to the public order or had repeatedly lied about their identity or nationality.
Pardon permits granted to minors, by sex and nationality
More than one quarter of pardonees are minors
Over one quarter of the pardonees were underage; and just over half of these were men. In the group of underage Somalians, three-quarters were men. Thirty percent of pardonees from former Yugoslavia were underage, compared with only 4 percent of people from Sierra Leone.