In 2003, when the collected House ov Khan passed a motion to relocate our HQ to Haarlem, we did so with the intent of opening our community art/cafe space within the borders of the Koninkrijk der Nederlanden.
With only one EU citizenship between the lot of us, we were keenly aware of the legal issues involved with relocation. The Vreemdelingpolitie were previously responsible for handling of all permits related to residence, but Dutch Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk claimed late in 2003 that by transferring the process to her Immigratie-en Naturalisatiedienst (IND) department she could improve conditions for all involved. We took note of this, and watched.
However, a year later, Minister Verdonk and the IND came under investigation by the Justice Ministry for misleading city councils about residence permits and application forms, resulting only in a host of integration and technical issues that prevented the easy application and processing for newcomers to the kingdom. Minister Verdonk was given a deadline, and she assured Parliament that she would meet it. Again, we took note, planning for a 2005 post-deadline move.
Now six months past that deadline, Amsterdam City Council this week accused Verdonk of breaking her promise to resolve the issue, and is now investigating whether damage claims can be filed on behalf of mislead expats.
As of last July, there were almost sixty thousand outstanding residence permit applications, and IND is only now beginning to release over 75 documents each week. At that rate, it will take over a decade to clear the backlog.
The Dutch Association of Municipalities and the Dutch Association of Civil Affairs have sworn to see this resolved in a much more timely fashion. However, the only thing that is certain is that now is not a good time to be waiting for a permit in The Netherlands.
Here at House ov Khan, we are forced to deal with the harsh reality (heh heh heh) of the bureaucratic nightmare that IND has created.
Our plan is still the same: To move to The Kingdom of The Netherlands, and foster community space. It is very clear that this will not be happening in the current climate, however, as this backlog could possibly take a year or two to resolve.
In the interim, we are evaluating several options. None of these involve remaining in Ottawa.
We are looking at a variety of locations within our country’s borders and elsewhere in the world which will provide us with resources and experiences that we can use in achieving our goal. Any move we make from this point onwards will be a step forward. We will accept no less.
This change of status in NL does, however, have an upside.
Previously, due to the resources and related issues involved in a move to the NL (such as immigration processes for several kittens, business licenses, and so forth), the process was expected to take a long time. One (or several) of us were to head over as an advance party, while the rest stayed behind for a number of months to finalize the move from this side of the ocean.
Now that we no longer have to deal with these issues immediately, our move out of Ottawa will be hastened considerably.
Say your goodbyes now, friends and foes. We won’t be here much longer.