Researchers call for a range of solutions for a worrisome situation of undocumented elders

The project ‘Te oud om illegaal te zijn’ (too old to be illegal) of social organisation De Regenboog Groep encourages the government to facilitate a sustainable solution for undocumented elders that can not make a claim to our health care system because of their status. They do this encouragement based on the research of Richard Staring, Professor of Criminology at Erasmus School of Law, Nienke Boesveldt, a researcher at Erasmus School of Law, and Mieke Kox, a researcher at the University of Amsterdam. Their conclusions are published in a diptych. 

Undocumented elders in the Netherlands have to deal with all sorts of problems. Because they live in the Netherlands without valid papers, they have little to no entitlement to primary medical care and social services. Especially for older people that is a vulnerable group because of their long-term unlawful stay, this is particularly problematic. Many have been in the Netherlands for decades and can no longer return to their home country. The problems that result from their status could not just be fixed by giving them legal status but also by reverting the outgrowth of the Koppelingswet and reintroducing the arrangement of extended family reunification. 

The diptych is published on 15 June and consists of the first part ‘Vechten voor het leven’, in which the daily problems around housing, income, health care and social embedding are discussed, and the second part ‘Juridische Verkenning van het recht op voorzieningen en verblijf voor oudere ongedocumenteerden’, in which the Dutch immigration policy and law since the ‘90s are discussed. 

Staring explains in EenVandaag: “these elders clean our houses and babysit our children. Some of them have serious physical symptoms, especially those who have extendedly worked here, and a part of them have mental issues; sometimes, this is a combination of the two. This long-term stay in illegality causes many mental issues, to which the supporting parties can give no adequate answer. They get increasingly isolated with their increasing troubles.”

More information

Click here for the entire piece by EenVandaag (from 4m50s, in Dutch).

Click here for the diptych (in Dutch).

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