Leers wants to remove thresholds for entry and residence rights

POSTED: 06/27/11 2:10 PM

St. Maarten – Immigration and Asylum Minister Gerd Leers wants to remove thresholds for entry and residence of Kingdom citizens in all parts of the Kingdom, but he also wants to “create general conditions for free movement, residence and labor,” Leers writes this in a concept for the Kingdom Law Passenger Travel he sent to the Justice Ministers in St. Maarten, Curacao and Aruba.

Removing thresholds is according to the concept “especially in the interest of entrepreneurs, investors, students, experts, knowledge-immigrants and medical assistance.” The conditions are designed “to promote the economic and social situation in the countries.”

Leers says that the conditions may be subjected to limitations, for instance by demands with regard to professional qualifications.

The concept already contains one significant limitation. A condition for access to other parts of the Kingdom is, apart from having a valid travel document, “not having a criminal record.” Leers suggests limiting the mobility of criminal Kingdom citizens and foreigners as a point of discussion. His concept also states that the right to residence and labor is only allowed if the applicant is capable to maintain himself financially.

Access control of Kingdom citizens must be similar at the borders of the countries within the Kingdom. Leers plans to discuss the plans towards the end of August with the Justice Ministers of St. Maarten and Curacao, and with Aruba’s Integration Minister.

Leers’ concept is the first document produced by the Rutte-government was about the free movement of citizens within the Kingdom since it took office eight months ago. The previous Balkenende-cabinet had a complete Kingdom law ready, but this met with fierce resistance in especially Curacao.

The main bone of contention was the option that citizens could be declared persona non grate in another part of the Kingdom, also when they had been living there for quite some time.

Dutch citizens who had been living less than ten years in another part of the Kingdom could be denied access or prolonged stay in that country  if his personal behavior posed a real and serious threat to a fundamental interest of the country. The ban could also be imposed for urgent reasons of public safety.

It is unclear whether sending citizens back to their own country will become a part of the plans leers proposes. The government accord is not specific about this issue. Kingdom Relations Minister Donner also remained vague when he was asked about the subject during his visit to the islands in April. “It depends on what the countries want,” he said.

Leers mentions in his concept a citizenship based on the Dutch nationality without discrimination. “An important right in this context is the right to access and residence in all parts of the Kingdom for all citizens with the Dutch nationality, without discriminating then based on their country of origin. This right can be limited according to the situation because of the geographic location, scale size or public order and safety.”


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