Dutch Council of State: Family life considerations to be included in the ‘safe third country’-assessment

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

On 20 January 2021, the Dutch Council of State ruled in the case of a Nicaraguan national whose application for a temporary asylum residence permit was declared inadmissible. 
The Nicaraguan applicant had lived in Costa Rica for 22 years. There, she met her Dutch spouse with whom she has a daughter, who holds both the Dutch and Nicaraguan nationality. In 2014, they all moved to Nicaragua, after which, in 2016, the spouse and daughter moved to the Netherlands. In 2018, she applied for asylum in the Netherlands, after she allegedly faced problems in Nicaragua. The State Secretary declared her application inadmissible as Costa Rica is a ‘safe third country’ and, given her links to the country, it was ‘reasonable’ for her to apply for asylum there. An appeal against this decision was rejected. 
According to Dutch law, the State Secretary may only declare an application for asylum inadmissible for reasons of return to a ‘safe third country’, when a foreign national has such a connection with that country that it would be reasonable for him or her to go to that country. In that regard, the Council underlined that the State Secretary must properly justify whether it is reasonable for a foreign national to travel to a safe third country and apply for asylum there, thereby taking into account all individual circumstances that are relevant for the assessment of the link a foreign national has with the safe third country. The Council found that the State Secretary had unlawfully ignored the absence of the applicant’s family in the designated safe third country. 

Therefore, it declared the appeal well-founded and annulled the State Secretary’s decision. 
Based on an unofficial translation by the EWLU team.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the ELENA Weekly Legal Update. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE.                               

Family unity (right to)
Safe third country