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"My dear. A lack of compassion can be as vulgar as an excess of tears. "
- Violet in Downton Abbey

"By perseverance the snail reached the ark. "
- Charles Spurgeon

"Not all those who wander are lost."

25 februari 2015

The immigration clients that give lawyers a headache

"You Can't Always Get What You Want" is a song by the Rolling Stones. And it is certainly true for people who want their other half to emigrate to The Netherlands. The partner in The Netherlands needs sufficient and steady income, the foreign partner needs to pass a test for a basic knowledge of Dutch language and culture. It can be very frustrating to get told that because you are working as a temp you cannot let the love of your life come. Or when you are applying for jobs non stop but nobody hires you. A last solution might be to emigrate to another EU country so your partner can come over because of a loophole in EU law.
Most of this information can be found on internet nowadays and some people decide to be their own lawyer and go and research and join fora. Law might not be rocket science but it is certainly not something you can master in a few days reading. So in the end people will contact lawyers and ask for help.

The answer can be: "sorry but what you want is not possible". There are two groups who have a habit to then go and blame the lawyer, the Dutch government and The Netherlands in general for that: the very rich and the people who do not work and are on welfare.

The rich people are used to be able to buy what they want and get very irritated when they might be able to have their partner in The Netherlands but not in the way they had liked that to be done. And if you suggest a way around the problem you meet with utter rejection. "Why should she need to do a language test?" "I have no time to teach her Dutch as I work over 10 hours a day" ,"If I cannot come to Holland straight away but have to do that Europe route and stay a bit in Belgium I do not want to come at all and will move to the UK". "Get her in as a student? My wife is not going to enroll in university first". To end with "That whole immigration policy of The Netherlands is so unfair". "Money can't by me love" sings another song and it also cannot buy you an open border either.

The people on welfare cannot let their partner come as that would mean their welfare would get a lot higher. And the Dutch lawmakers did not want to have to do that. So it is either finding a job here or going for that EU loophole. Finding a job in another EU country and go and work there (no worries about steady jobs and income levels, nor languagetests for the foreign lover) would give them the right to ferry their partners to that country and after a period of at least 3 months they can move back to The Netherlands as a family. Of course when you have a house in The Netherlands with reduced rent, are in welfare so long they are forgetting about your obligation to try and find work etc. the idea of having to go and work might sound not so desirable. This group might not be the people who are used to buying themselves what they want but they are also not the people who have learned the hard way at work that a boss can tell you what to do and it does not matter if you like it that way or not. So like the very rich these people try to oppose. "Does the law say otherwise? Then the judges are stupid". "Oh but I do not want to move. They should change the law". And there then the rant "The Netherlands have such an unfair system" begins what will be directed to the lawyer and the whole system of courts and governments.

But sometimes you cannot get what you want! Well at least not how you planned to get it. And that lawyer you talk to has studied that law for years and knows more about it then you do. Maybe listen to him or her and bow your head for once in your life. Do you want to go for a costly strategy to try and fight the whole immigration system or have it maybe not in your way but still in the easiest and fastest way possible?

Does that mean I think these clients just have to deal with it? Sorry I do not pity someone when there is a certainty they can get what he or she wants but just have to work hard for it. Yes paying a fee to university so your other half can be a student is a pain in your wallet when you want to work around the fact that you have a great income but no longtime contract. Have to move might not be fun so you can use an EU loophole. But you still end up with what you want.

Who I pity are the people who just are excluded and will be excluded forever. The elder parent of someone who married a Dutch person and now his or her kid has a family, a house and his or her own business here in The Netherlands but the mother or father got widowed and is getting so old they cannot live alone anymore. The asylumseeker who had a safe spot in The Netherlands and made friends but now has to return to a country that is safe again but also void of family and friends. The woman who left everything behind for a married life here and then her husband divorces her after a few years and she has to go back. The persons you have to tell "Sorry there is nothing I can do for you".

The Dutch immigration system might not be ideal but is also created this way to protect the interests of all the other people living in The Netherlands. As long as you still can get what you want stop complaining. And stop telling everyone you hate that Dutch system but still want to live here.

 photo: Ships coming towards the harbor of Rotterdam and Europoort: a Dutch Schengenborder.


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