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Newspaper from the African Perspective

By A. G. Kleijweg*


Dear Readers,


This article is about two immigration related subjects.


First subject is about parents with children, who live illegally in this country and are not able to work but need some income to live on.


Second subject is about people who get an accident while working. This is not only about people who are residing legally here, but also and mainly about those who are residing and working illegally.




Since the regulations concerning people residing illegally become harsher, more parents with children find themselves unable to make a living for themselves and their children.


Although it is in general the personal responsibility of an illegal immigrant who choose to continue to stay in The Netherlands, his or her child should not have to suffer from such decision.


The Netherlands is a signatory to a treaty called the “International Treaty for the Rights of Children” known in this country as the “IVRK”. I will not go into details, but the bottom line of the treaty is as follows:


In the IVRK, there is an article that prescribes that a contracting state should ensure a basic level of material well being for a child, food, shelter and education. The reference is for “the child” and not for “the legally residing child”.


For that reason all children, legally and illegally, residing within the borders of The Netherlands are entitled to these basic rights.  In practice this means that the parents of the child must claim these rights for their children.

If it so happens therefore that an illegal resident, being a parent, cannot provide for a living anymore, he or she can turn to the City Council (Gemeente) and apply for welfare formally known as “een uitkering krachtens de Algemene Bijstandswet”.


The City Council might not be too happy with your application for welfare, and will sometimes not even know that it is a possibility, even an obligation, to give this welfare, but must accept the application for welfare and give a decision in writing.


If the decision is positive, then it is good and one will get some financial support.  If the decision is negative, you must go to a lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyer can appeal with a good chance of success.


Although these are no immigration matters, for cases like this, concerning children, interested people are always welcome to contact my office through the usual channel of The African Bulletin (TAB).




In general, if you are working, your employer is (financially) responsible for any accident and injury the worker suffers during working hours and in the process of the work the worker was supposed to carry-out.


This general rule applies to everyone, that is, those working and residing legally as well as those working and residing illegally.


In most cases the employer knows or should know that the worker was not a legal resident.  Also, the fact that somebody does not have a residence permit does not mean that person does not have rights. It is also irrelevant in law when any damage has been suffered by the worker whether he or she is a legal resident or not. 


Even if the worker has misinformed his employer by showing for example a false passport or residence permit, it is not impossible to hold the employer responsible for the damage suffered because of a work related accident. After all, did the false information lead to the accident?  No, it did not and so it can well be defended that it should be regarded as an irrelevant factor.


Since in these kinds of cases it is very uncommon that the (illegal) worker makes a claim against the employer, there is - as far as I know hardly any case-law about it.


Maybe, if some injured illegal workers find the courage to step forward, this could change. It is important to realise that the procedure will not cost much, maybe even nothing.


The reason is that the procedure can be done on the basis of subsidised legal aid. So why not present your case to a lawyer who can best advise you about your case and the chances you have?


Again, as mentioned in the first subject above, these are not immigration matters but should you or anyone that you know have such cases, you are welcome to contact my office through the usual channel of The African Bulletin (TAB).


Editor’s Note: Due to the many reactions received by the lawyer on immigration issues, he has also agreed (for free) to take a look at any negative decisions of any kind on immigration matters. If you have recently received a negative decision and need a quick legal opinion on it, you may send a copy of such negative decision to his office with your name, address and especially a functional telephone number. Please note that the decision must be recent because of the short time required to make an appeal. Readers are also urged to send in suggestions for subjects to be covered in Legal Matters column.

For legal questions or consultations, you may contact me through the following: Office address is Laan Copes van Cattenburch 105, 2585 EX, The Hague; Fax number (+31) 070-356 14 02 or e-mail   Note: Please no telephone call.


Disclaimer: The articles on Legal Matters are for general information-purposes only, and may not apply to your situation. They do not take the place of a lawyer. For professional advice, we ask you to seek legal counsel.

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