Immigration detention / General

The Dutch government is actively working to remove undocumented migrants (illegals) from the Netherlands to the country where they do have legal residence. In such cases it is sometimes possible for the Dutch government to detain a foreign national. That means that the person is locked up in a prison. This is a very serious measure and should only be used as a last resort after the foreign national has been given the opportunity to voluntarily leave the country. Every detention should start with a return decision. If there is no return decision, the detention is unlawful. An appeal must then be lodged with the court. Our office assists such procedures free of charge and participates in the duty roster. This means that a foreign national who is detained can specify a preferred lawyer who will assist him or her free of charge.


Only on a first appeal, shortly after the foreign national has been detained, will the court assess whether the detention order has been imposed in a careful and correct manner. The court will assess whether a lighter measure, such as an obligation to report, would have sufficed. The court also checks whether the IND has done enough to deport the foreign national. The court also assesses whether there is a realistic possibility of deporting the foreign national (perspective of deportation).


If the court upholds the appeal and orders the lifting of the alien detention order, the court may also award compensation for the time the alien has been unlawfully detained.


If the court declares the first appeal to be unfounded, later appeals can only complain about the speed and prospects of deportation by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND). In addition, the judge will weigh up the interests, especially if the detention lasts longer. As a rule, the maximum duration of detention of a foreign national is six months. In special cases, such as actively resisting deportation, the (absolute) maximum is eighteen months. It is clear that the first profession offers the most opportunities. It is therefore advisable to contact us as soon as possible after detention.

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