Utrecht sees some Brexit clarity as UK dithers

By perhaps ignoring the posturing of the UK government as they were never going to get any sense out of them, the Dutch immigration service IND has at last brought some clarity to the situation and has totally overhauled the Brexit information section of its website, and now tells British nationals that the Dutch government will provide ‘a decent solution’ even in the case of a no deal. The website states:

‘Your situation is a top priority for the Dutch government. Consequently, the Netherlands will do its utmost to reach a deal with the UK,’

This seems a bit of a dream as the UK seems to have no idea about what is to happen. It has taken them two years to come up with no plan.

The revised IND website outlines the two steps the nearly 50,000 adult British nationals in the Netherlands should now undertake

Make sure you are registered with your local authority

Apply for a Digid electronic signature.

It also now points out that if there is a deal, nothing will change until the end of the transition period in December 2020,  as the website states:

‘You do not have to do anything for this. You do not need a special document… You will however be invited by the IND between March 29, 2019 and December 31 2020 to make an application for your new status.’

This invitation will be sent to the address at which British nationals have registered in their local authority. The process will spread out across 21 months to avoid everyone applying for a licence at the same time.

In the event of a no deal situation, the

‘Dutch government will provide for a decent solution for your residence in the Netherlands after 29 March, 2019,’

the IND says, adding that the

‘conditions for obtaining new residence status are not yet known.’

In that eventuality, the IND says it will contact everyone, using the address in the central register, and tell them about what to do next.

The IND has been criticised by immigration lawyers for scaremongering in previous versions of the website. A survey we mentioned in September showed that almost four in ten British people living in the Netherlands had done nothing yet to regulate their stay post Brexit. However, immigration service officials are now ‘extremely busy’ processing applications for residency permits and for Dutch nationality.

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Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.

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