Children's Pardon

​Regulation for long-term resident children (Children's Pardon)

Following the 2012 elections, a majority in the Dutch House of Representatives voted in favour of a Children's Pardon, meant for children of asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors who do not have a residence permit, but who have been living in the Netherlands for more than 5 years. A so-called 'transitional arrangement' came into force on 1 February 2013 which ended on 1 May 2013.

Definitive regulation

Also after 1 May 2013, a policy was drawn up for children who were staying in the Netherlands for a long time, the so-called 'definitive regulation'. The conditions differ from the ones that were in place for the transitional arrangement. Read more about  the conditions for the definitive regulation. Family members of the child that appeals to the regulation - think of parents, brothers and sisters - may qualify for a residence permit as well. They then have to submit their application at the same time as the main person.

Number of applications (up to 30 April 2016)

In the letter of the Minister of Migration, dated 25 May 2016, addressed to the Dutch House of Representatives, he sets out the number of applications submitted in relation to both regulations.

Number of applications in relation to the transitional arrangement and the definitive regulation. Reference date is 30 April 2016, rounded up in tens.

* In his letter, dated 21 June 2016, addressed to the Dutch House of Representatives, the Minister of Migration has indicated that up to 1 June 2016, 120 applications have been approved based on the definitive Regulation. These involve 40 so-called main persons and 90 family members. 70 out of 120 granted applications were for minors.

Reasons for rejecting an application

In practice, the most frequent grounds for rejecting an application include the fact that people had not cooperated in the obligation to leave the country following a past rejection, that no asylum applications have been submitted by or on behalf of the main person (at least 5 years before his 18th birthday), or that he cannot demonstrate who he is.

What happens to these rejected applications?

If the application of the foreign national is rejected, he receives a formal decision that states, among other things, that he has to leave the country. He can apply for a review of this decision and he can appeal next. When the foreign national indicates that he wants to comply with his obligation to leave the country, he can be assisted by the Repatriation and Departure Service.

How many persons have left?

Since the starting date of the arrangement (1 February 2013) up to 1 April 2016, 80 persons who could not qualify for the regulation for long-term resident children have actually left the Netherlands. About 320 persons have left independently without supervision.

Discretionary power

In practice, it often happens that children whose applications have been rejected, still try to remain in the Netherlands by asking the Minister of Migration to make use of his 'discretionary power'. This power provides the Minister of Migration the possibility to grant a residence permit in highly individual cases due to distressing circumstances. He does this contrary to policy - after all, applying the policy could not lead to a residence permit. This type of decision is often referred to as 'Decision in conformity with the Minister'.