QuickScan: The Kingdom of the Netherlands and the International Protection of (Asylum) Migrants

The crisis in Venezuela is causing an increase in emigration. A small percentage of these emigrants travels to the countries Aruba and Curaçao and the island Bonaire, all part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. How are the responsibilities for international protection and migration allocated within the Kingdom? To what extent can countries in the Kingdom work together in this area? These are the questions addressed by the ACVZ.

The allocation of responsibilities in the Kingdom is arranged in the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The countries in the Kingdom have a large degree of autonomy in implementing their own migration policy and are therefore primarily responsible for this themselves. This autonomy is limited by obligations arising from international treaties and laws of the Kingdom (the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands and statute laws). The Kingdom may intervene if one of the countries fails to comply with international laws or violates human rights in the process of implementing its migration policy, provided that strict assessment criteria are met.

The Charter offers ample opportunities for countries in the Kingdom to cooperate in the area of international protection and migration. Although cooperation has been discussed since 2015, it is still modest in scope with regard to the protection and reception of Venezuelan migrants.

The notification does not include recommendations. In the accompanying letter to the Minister for Migration and the State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations however, the ACVZ offers to advise on the issue upon request of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Also, the ACVZ could advise the government of the country the Netherlands on how best to deal with international protection and migration in the Caribbean countries and parts of the Kingdom.


On 26 April 2019, at the request of the Dutch Parliament, the government gave a general response to the content of the report of the Advisory Committee on Migration Affairs. The Minister for Migration mr. Harbers reports, among other things, that the government is paying full attention to developments in Venezuela and the consequences for the Kingdom in the area of migration. According to Harbers, the situation is seen as extremely complex and entails the necessary challenges for the authorities in the countries. The government states that the recent requests for assistance from Aruba and Curaçao offer the opportunity to further intensify and expand the cooperation. The cabinet does not make use of the offer by the Advisory Committee on Migration Affairs to provide advice due to the fact that the relevant information is already known to the government organizations, says Minister Harbers.

State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations Knops made commitments to the House of Representatives during the plenary debate of 23 April 2019 about the crisis situation in Venezuela and its consequences for the Kingdom. In the Spring Memorandum 2019 of 27 May 2019, the Dutch Cabinet announced that 23.8 million euros will be allocated this year to help Curacao and Aruba with the reception of Venezuelan migrants.


For more information contact: Sonja Avontuur