Dutch integration minister Rita Verdonk says the cabinet has agreed to her policy of expelling jobless immigrants from the Netherlands Antilles.
Under the plan, Antilleans aged 18 to 24 who do not start work or study within three months will be sent home.
Mrs Verdonk said the Netherlands was not a land of milk and honey for those who couldn’t make a living elsewhere.
The Netherlands Antilles’ Prime Minister, Etienne Ys, has complained that he was not consulted.
He described the proposal as “a restriction of freedom”, adding that Antilleans were entitled to freedom of movement within the Kingdom because they carry Dutch passports.
The Dutch centre-right cabinet says the policy is aimed at weeding out the criminal element among youths from the Netherlands Antilles—a federation of five territories including Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten (the Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin).
Mrs Verdonk said the harsh measures were directed at “youngsters that think that when they get off the plane scooters and mobile phones will be waiting for them”.
“For people who have a job or want to study here there will be no problems,” AFP quotes her as saying.
Earlier this week, Roy Pieters, president of the consultative body of Caribbean Dutch nationals told the Dutch daily Trouw: “I thought the Antilleans were also Dutch nationals but apparently that is not the case.”
Opposition parties have accused the government of colonialism and argue that the move is illegal as all Dutch passport holders are to be treated equally.
They agree with Mr Ys that the government should have opted for training programmes instead—for unemployed Antillean youths—both in the Netherlands and in the Caribbean.
Expatica, May 13
AMSTERDAM—The Cabinet has backed a plan aimed at discouraging “underprivileged risk youth” from the Antilles from entering the Netherlands, Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk said on Friday.
It was revealed earlier this week the Dutch government wants to impose tough measures to reduce the number of young Antilleans entering the country and turning to crime or social welfare benefits.
Besides sentencing offenders, Dutch judges will also be given authority to send Antillean youths who commit crime back home.
Young Antilleans will only be allowed to stay in the Netherlands if they have work or study prospects within three months of arrival. The measure is aimed at youths aged 18 to 24.
Unaccompanied minors with no guardian in the Netherlands will be refused entry.
Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm said on Friday when the new legislation is in force, Antilleans who enter the country without a valid reason will be sent home. The regulation will be backdated to 13 May.
Minister Verdonk said Antilleans wrongly think the Netherlands is the land of “milk and honey”. She said those who have no chance in the Antilles , don’t have one in the Netherlands either.
The Dutch Parliament has demanded for almost two years a policy aimed at ejecting problem Antillean youth, but the responsible government ministers have been unable to reach agreement.
Verdonk said a solution to legal obstacles has now been found by linking the new legislation not to immigration law, but to the residence demands already imposed on Dutch people wanting to move to the Antilles.
The minister’s legal advisors are convinced the plan does not breach the Dutch Constitution or European Union regulations.
Various legal experts have cast doubt on the assertions, however, and claim the new legislation breaches laws of equality spelled out in the constitution and international treaties.
The Antillean Parliament has unanimously rejected the cabinet plan, but Zalm said the government will discuss the measures with the Dutch Parliament and the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba , both of which make up the Dutch Kingdom .
“It will be pleasing if we carry this out in good co-operation with the Antilles. It is handy if the Antilles also examines whether someone can travel to the Netherlands or not,” he said.