Laws taking effect

Lesbian parenthood

As from 1 April, the female partner of the mother, the so-called 'co-mother' ('duomoeder'), will be able to legally become a parent without court involvement. At this moment, this still requires the involvement of the courts. This requirement costs time and money, whereas the new system is much more straightforward and virtually free of charge.

In the new system, the co-mother will automatically become a legal parent if she is married and if the semen donor is unknown within the meaning of the Artificial Fertilisation (Donor Information) Act (Wet donorgegevens kunstmatige bevruchting). In all other cases, she has the option to acknowledge the child. The acknowledgement is a straightforward act that can already be completed before the registrar of births, deaths, and marriages preceding the birth. At the birth of the child, the co-mother will then legally become a parent. Municipalities will register the changes in the municipal personal records database (basisregistratie personen).

Parent of the child in a registered partnership

In addition, a law removing a few differences between the registered partnership and marriage will take effect on 1 April. As a result, the man who is in a registered partnership with the mother at the time of the child's birth will become the father of the child. At this moment, he still has to acknowledge the child. Moreover, the co-mother who is in a registered partnership with the mother at the time of the child's birth will become mother of the child provided that the semen donor is unknown as defined by the Artificial Fertilisation (Donor Information) Act.

Acknowledgement by married man

The same act also provides for a married man being able to acknowledge a child of a woman other than his spouse out of court as from 1 April. From the point of view of equal treatment, there is no reason for the married man to assume an exceptional position, as is currently the case.

Custody register

It will also become possible for parents to designate someone in the custody register who will obtain the custody of their child following their death. Currently, this can only be achieved via a will (testamentary guardianship). This new rule provides parents with a broader and less expensive option for laying down the guardianship of their children.

Adolescent criminal law

The adolescent criminal law in effect from 1 April contains a comprehensive package of measures for a firm and consistent response to the criminality of young people at risk between the ages of 16 and 23. A juvenile criminal law sanction can be imposed when the development of an adolescent gives cause for doing so. Examples of such sanction are a maximum of two years in juvenile detention or the measure of 'placement in an institution for juvenile offenders' (PIJ measure) that can last up to seven years. Moreover, adolescent criminal law makes it possible to convert this PIJ measure into a detention under a hospital order (terbeschikkingstelling, TBS) if the person sentenced still constitutes a danger once the PIJ measure has expired. In the case of serious crimes, it remains possible to impose an adult criminal law sanction or measure on young people from the age of 16.

Extension of authority of aliens supervision

Effective from 22 March and within the scope of an investigation into the identity of a foreign national, the Aliens Police (Vreemdelingenpolitie, VP) and the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (Koninklijke Marechaussee, KMar) can search a dwelling presumed to contain a foreign national illegally residing in the Netherlands, without the permission of the occupant of the dwelling. At this moment, it is only possible to enter the dwelling and to look around inquisitively once entered. As the police and the Marechaussee find this authority to be too limited in practice, the possibilities of aliens supervision are being extended. A limited search makes it possible to find documents, which sometimes turn up later after all, at an earlier stage. These documents are important in the context of the repatriation process.

Long-term residents

In addition, from 29 March, long-term third country nationals from outside the EU, who have asylum status and who have legally resided within the territory of an EU Member State for a continuous period of at least five years, can be granted EU long-term resident status. This provides the right to reside in other EU Member States for periods longer than three months and to work or attend professional training there.

Single Permit

Furthermore, the Combined Work and Residence Permit Act (Wet Gecombineerde vergunning voor verblijf en arbeid, GVVA) will be introduced on 1 April. The GVVA or Single Permit is a permit that gives third country nationals from outside
the EU the right to reside and work in the Netherlands for a period longer than three months.

The GVVA combines the residence permit and the current work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning, TWV) into a single permit. A foreign national who wants to come to the Netherlands to work there for a period longer than three months (or his or her employer) only has to initiate a single procedure. The conditions under which a foreign national can come to the Netherlands to work and live remain unchanged. The GVVA applies to the majority of the labour migrants from outside the EU. 

Streamlining asylum procedures

The second tranche of the Streamlining of Admission Procedures Decree (Besluit stroomlijning toelatingsprocedures) takes effect on 1 April. From that moment, when an initial application for asylum or an application on humanitarian-regular grounds is rejected, there must be an immediate assessment of whether (other) humanitarian-regular grounds for residence are applicable, so that a separate follow-up application does not have to be submitted for that purpose. Furthermore, in the case of applications for residence in which medical circumstances must be assessed, the foreign national will have to make sure himself or herself that his or her medical file is provided. This does not apply in the case of the initial application for asylum.