Court Cases / Fourth GMS Court Case
GOMEZ GARCIA vs. The NETHERLANDS
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE BONAIRE
Theme: Humanizing Immigration Policy
By means of a large set of rather complicated Laws and Regulations the Netherlands government has introduced and maintains a virtual form of ‘bonded labor’ for mostly Latin immigrants who have come to work on the islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.
This case aims to eliminate the so-called ‘residence gap rule’. Migrant workers have to renew their residence permit every year for 5 years in a row. During this period they are virtually bonded to their employer, i.e. they risk expulsion if they are dismissed or quit voluntarily. This results in many abuses.
After 5 years they can apply for a permanent residence permit with free labor choice. However, permanent residency is denied, if there is a ‘residence gap’. This is any length of time occurring between the expiry and renewal dates of two yearly permits. If such a ‘gap’ occurs, this is considered ‘illegal residency’. The consequence of this is that the period of 5 years for permanent residency starts anew.
THIS CASE was successful to the extent that the plaintiff received the permit he had requested. The case was settled out of court to the satisfaction of the plaintiff. For the plaintiff this is fortunate. For the Golden Meand Society (GMS) the downside is that the point of principle which this case had laid before the Court, could not be adjudicated.