Linking Act, coping-stone of the Aliens policy, end 1995
short explanation of the Linking Act, end 1995
In july this year the long-expected 'linking act' will
have to be implemented. The act intends to exclude illegal
foreigners from using community services. In actual practice
the result will be that the control of foreigners, presently
carried out by the military police, the (aliens) police, and
the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Social Services and
Employment, will be extended to administrative organizations.
The practical implementation will be carried out by means of
the Aliens Administrative System (AAS)
The exclusion of illegal foreigners from social services has
been given political priority for years now. The Zeevalking
Commission advised the Lubbers government in 1991 to increase
the control on foreigners to include administrative controls.
The government was slightly hesitant about increasing street
controls, but their fears have been superseded in the
meantime, as proven by the establishment of the Mobile Aliens
Control unit of the Military police (473) and the extension of
the aliens police (800).
In today's fashionable muscular terminology about fraud and
misuse of social services the legislators set to work to
'discourage illegal residence'. The right of social services
and employment should be linked directly to a legal residence
in the Netherlands.
At the end of 1991 it became impossible to receive a social
security number without a legal residence permit. Since 1981
it has been impossible for illegal foreigners to claim job
assistance and since 19.. it has been obligatory to control
people's residential status when they apply for welfare.
System of exclusion
Besides employee insurances, such as unemployment insurance,
disablement insurance and health law, illegal foreigners can
no longer make use of social insurances, such as family
allowance, general social security, old age pensions and the
general disablement act.
Besides social security, illegal foreigners are also excluded
from individual rent subsidy, residential rights, the rights
to study after the age of 16 and medical insurance.
It is remarkable that the social security act has also been
changed. Even in the case of emergencies (for example the
Bijlmermeer plane disaster) illegal foreigners are no longer
entitled to a benefit.
The group of people excluded is getting bigger. Those seeking
asylum who are tolerated, because they cannot be extradited
due to the situation in their own country, are also excluded
from the public services.
Formally this group is entitled to be in the Netherlands, only
materially they are not. Chances are that these people end up
in criminal groups to make a living.
Points of criticism
1. exaggerated legislation
It shows from inquiries into the misuse of social services by
illegal foreigners carried out over some years that hardly any
misuse occurs. It turns out from many analyses that misuse of
social services by illegal foreigners is a rarity.
Among the group of tolerated seekers of political asylum (who
are still entitled to social benefits) only relatively few
people receive welfare. The Amsterdam Regioplan Bureau carried
out a survey of social benefits among tolerated foreigners:
only 12 percent of all tolerated seekers of asylum (an
estimated 26,000 people) receives social benefits (NRC, 20
It shows from calculations made by the Ministry of Welfare,
Health and Cultural Affairs that the implementation of the
'linking act' will produce a total of 11 million guilders.
In fact, by attacking a fake problem a mountain is made of a
molehill. The ratio between the large number of controls and
the limited misuse is disproportional.
2. Civil servants acting as criminal investors
During the late eighties, proposals for altering the Aliens
Act were greatly objected against, as this would extend the
controls to ordinary civil servants. The so-called ID-law
included the proposal that the control of illegal foreigners
was to take place at the counters of public services offices.
The 'linking act' proposes the same thing in fact. Civil
servants end up in a controlling system which is not of their
own choosing. This type of policing goes two ways. Not only is
a number of civil servant forced to check whether somebody
lives in the Netherlands illegally, but on the instigation of
the Minister of Justice, a number of them is also forced to
inform the aliens police about this.
In fact, the entire legislature is nothing but a means to
fight illegal residence with the help of social security laws.
The Social Security Bank, which implements Child Allowance,
considers excluding illegal foreigners as a violation of a
basic element of the various social insurances, namely the
protection of all the residents of the Netherlands against
(financial) risks such as old age and decease.
It is noteworthy that the proposals take as their starting
point the exclusion from the rights of insurance, rather than
the right of welfare. This actually results in illegal work
becoming cheaper because no premiums need to be paid any
3. Racist results
The controls will take place by means of the Aliens
Administration System. All foreigners residing in the
Netherlands have been registered in this system. The AAS is
presently used in 5 police districts and before the end of the
year all regions will have to be integrated. A great effort is
made to link the system with the Local Basis Administration,
the intention being that the control will be carried out via
this LBA eventually.
The opposition against the notorious ID-law of the late
eighties also applies to the 'Linking act'. Again, the
decision to control somebody is mainly taken on the grounds of
this person's appearance, name or other characteristics. The
consequences are far-reaching, many people will be forced to
identify themselves extensively. They will have to identify
themselves before each and every civil servant.
It is also quite unclear how and when these control have to
take place. Do people have to be controlled each month, will a
computerized registration system be implemented?
4. Further marginalization of illegal and tolerated seekers of
Illegal foreigners and tolerated seekers of asylum will be
even further marginalized in this society due to this law.
They may end up in criminal circles easily. Even in
emergencies no help will be given. Especially for people
requiring medical help the situation will become distressing.
During the 10-year anniversary of the organization for free
medical assistance, it was announced that the Ministry of
Welfare, Health and Cultural Affairs will reserve some 15
million guilders, money economized on article 84 of the
Welfare Act. This sum could be used for acute medical help. A
drop in the ocean considering that some 10 million guilders is
spent on medical expenses in Amsterdam alone.