12 July 2012
Following a foreign affairs ministry report criticizing the treatment of homosexuals in Iraq, Immigration Minister Gerd Leers has announced that they qualify for asylum in the Netherlands. In a briefing regarding the decision Leers noted that in order to qualify, individuals will have to prove that they are from Iraq.
21 June 2012
Negotiations over the place of a group of Iraqi asylum seekers in the Netherlands continue. Immigration Minister Gerd leers and his Iraqi counterpart Shafiq Duski met in the Hague this week and will again meet in Baghdad in September. The Netherlands offered a fund of 5.5million euros to Iraq to reintegrate failed asylum seekers, on the condition that Iraq cooperate in the repatriation process. Minister Duski will consult with Iraqi parliament on the issue, but prefers a phased return for the asylum seekers, as Iraq reportedly would have difficulty coping with the large numbers of repatriated individuals. The negotiations arose after asylum seekers from Iraq and elsewhere established a protest tent camp near Ter Apel.
2 May 2012
The Netherlands may drop the planned ban on the burqa and on dual nationality which are currently making their way through the national parliament. The change comes with the fall of the minority government, as those aspects of government policy influenced by the presence of the anti-Islam PVV (Freedom Party) enter into renegotiation. Notably, MPs have implored outgoing Interior Minister Liesbeth Spies (CDA) to eliminate the country’s planned burqa ban. Spies has responded that she “wouldn’t shed a tear” if the PVV-sponsored bill was scrapped, but will leave it up to parliament to decide. The proposed ban on dual nationality is now also under contention.
Spies had previously defended both policies, stating in regards to the burqa ban that “it is important that people in an open society meet each other in an open way.” This week, however, Volkskrant quotes her statement that, “now that the cabinet has fallen, there’s no longer any payoff” to supporting PVV sponsored bills. Immigration Minister Gerd Leers has also said that he will no longer support PVV causes within Europe.
MP Tofik Dibi of the Green Left has accused the Dutch government of inflating immigration statistics in order to justify their affiliation with the anti-immigration party PVV. Dibi told ANP, “It is bizarre. You would think ministers were pleased the figures were not as high as they make them out to be.”
The discussion centers around granting family reunification visas, the focus of new and increasingly strict immigration policy in the country. Immigration Minister Gerd Leers commented that 25,000 people were given visas in 2010 for family reunification, but as it turns out 4,000 of those visas were for babies born in the Netherlands to immigrants residing in the country. The current coalition government has pledged as a condition of its support from the PVV to reduce immigration from non-western countries by half.
7 October 2011
Dutch Immigration Minister Gerd Leers, stated in a recent interview that “migration enriches our society”. The member of the Christian Democrats stated that a society which tries to curb immigration is “on the wrong track” and said that he regrets the anti-immigration political and social debate of the past years.