Netherlands: Women left behind in Morocco

At least 30 women were left behind in Morocco by their Dutch-Moroccan husbands in 2006 according to the help center for remigrants (SSR,Stichting Steunpunt Remigranten).

Mohammed Sayem, the SSR coordinator says that the number has stayed constant the past number of years. In 2005 the center got 36 complaints. But Sayem suspects that total number of women left behind is higher. "We work especially in North Morocco and not all women know how to find us."

Ten women reported to the Dutch embassy in 2006. These were women who were brought to Morocco under false pretensens and were then left behind, usually without papers. Some have children with Dutch nationality.

In 2004 the parliament adopted a motion in which the government was asked to speed up the return of women with children holding Dutch nationality and to then provide them with an independent residence permit for an unspecified time.

Parliament member Naima Azough says the motion has yet to be carried through. "The women for whom we ask permission to come back form a random number of cases. It is not clear how many Dutch children are affected by being left behind."

Since 2005 a national workgroup has been trying, along with SSR, to prevent such cases by giving better information and assistance. A vulnerable group are the women who come to the Netherlands for family reunification. During the first three years they are dependent on their partner for their residence permit.

Source: Telegraaf (Dutch)

See also: Netherlands: Trouble of remigrating

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