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Antwerp to ban foreign partner website

Published on 18/07/2006

18 July 2006

BRUSSELS — The Antwerp City Council is investigating whether it can take legal action against the website buitenlandsepartner.nl, which advises Dutch residents to bring their foreign partners into the Netherlands via Belgium.

Visitors to the site can find a handbook advising people who wish to bring foreign family members to the Netherlands to take up (temporary) residence in Belgium first. That way, they can sail around the Netherlands’ tight immigration laws.

A short stay in Belgium, for example Antwerp, means the less strict Belgian laws regulating residency permits for a partner from Morocco or Turkey, for example, are applied.

The ‘Handbook for the Belgium route’ gives a detailed overview of Belgian laws and regulations regarding registration, marriage, family unification migration and social security. It also gives practical tips.

“In Belgium, you don’t need to satisfy an absurd income demand for family unification or undergo chaotic integration,” the website says.

Antwerp Population Alderman Erwin Pairon said the website — which is administered by the group Stichting Buitenlandse Partner — is “riff-raff” material, Dutch and Belgian media reported on Tuesday.

He said the number of Dutch nationals registering as residents in Antwerp in recent years has increased markedly, blaming the ‘Belgium route’ as one of the prime reasons.

In January, Dutch Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk and Belgian Interior Minister Patrick Dewael had reached an agreement aimed at closing the loophole in regulations.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Dutch news + Belgian news