MONDAY, 06 FEBRUARY 2012
THE HAGUE–The Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service IND unit in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba processed 5,000 requests for residence permits in 2011. A total of 82 persons were refused at the border and 63 were expelled.
Dutch Minister of Immigration, Integration and Asylum Gerd Leers stated this in a letter to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament late last week. He will have a meeting with Parliament’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations today, Monday, about his policy on the Dutch public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.
The IND unit, which also provides services for the Social Affairs and Labour unit to synchronise residence permit requests with requests for work permits, has managed to eliminate the backlog in permit requests.
In the start-up period the unit was faced with a “substantial” pile-up of old requests that had been submitted before October 10, 2010, explained Leers. “Through the great efforts of personnel, the processing term of the stock of pending requests has been reduced royally within the six months stipulated in the law. The unit strives to further reduce the processing time to six weeks.”
The IND unit has 17 fulltime employees who had already been recruited and trained before the transition period. The unit is being upgraded constantly. A two-week training session was organised in March 2011, which included the aspect of customer care.
The Royal Dutch Marechaussees, responsible for supervision of foreigners and the actual repatriation of foreigners, refused 82 persons at the borders of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba in 2011, and expelled 63 persons.
The number of detained foreigners is not substantial enough to warrant the construction of a separate deportation centre on the islands, stated Leers. He said there was no need to set up a facility that would also create additional capacity pressure for the islands.
Ten spaces will be reserved structurally to hold illegal foreigners at the new prisons that will be built in Bonaire and St. Eustatius. The facilities will be multi-functional so different types of detainees, including foreigners, can be accommodated.
Leers said he was positive about the achieved results of setting up a well-functioning and efficient Immigration system on the islands that complies with the international norms and requirements. He said it had been a “challenge” for the departments involved.
The Immigration system will be improved further by, among other things, more intensive cooperation of the various departments, customer service and in cooperation with the Dutch Caribbean countries Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten.