Six political parties in the Groningen city council want the municipality of Groningen to do more for people with the status, who may have been refugees in the past
The city council has put forward a motion, calling on the Municipal Executive to join an independent expert group that, together with municipalities, will look at the policy on this issue. The parties also ask the city’s leadership to help residents of the municipality of Groningen with the status Nationality Unknown: this status shows that no country in the world recognizes them as one of its citizens.
ChristenUnie councilor Gerben Brandsema: “I recently met a 21-year-old student who came to the Netherlands as a baby with refugee status. She resides legally in the Netherlands, but has the status Nationality Unknown. As a result, she cannot become a civil-law notary after completing her law studies, while she would like to. Nor is she likely to be able to take out a mortgage or vote. Even something as simple as taking out a mobile phone contract already entails difficulties. She feels like a second-class citizen with the same duties as everyone else, but without the same rights. In addition to this student, there are about a thousand other residents of the municipality of Groningen who are in the same situation. We therefore believe that the municipality of Groningen can do more for this group of people. ”
To solve the problems of these people their status must be converted to “stateless”. To obtain Stateless status, these people must prove themselves that no country in the world recognizes them. In practice this is often very difficult, which means that they often transfer the status Nationality Unknown to their children.
Because national legislation takes a long time, more and more municipalities are taking up the challenge themselves, such as Utrecht and Amsterdam. For example, an independent group of experts is currently being set up to look at policy together with municipalities to improve this. The motion submitted therefore calls on the Municipal Executive to seek affiliation with this expert group.