Stop the Unjustified Embargo of Residence Permit Applications for Iranian Nationals

The International Service Desks of several Dutch universities have informed Iranian students of a decision by the Dutch immigration and naturalization service (IND) to unilaterally suspend every MVV- or residence permit application from Iranian nationals for an unspecified–and presumed indefinite–amount of time. The apparent justification for this decision is new regulations from the EU Council for the implementation of enhanced sanctions against Iran, No. 267/2012 as of 23rd March 2012. The suddenness and opacity of the suspension leaves Iranian nationals who are studying and working (or planning to do so) in the Netherlands distressed, as they find themselves in an uncertain and unclear position and unable to plan for the future. Insufficient information is being provided by the IND on how this situation will be resolved and on what timescale solutions will be made available to Iranian nationals.

The EU Council Regulations compel European Member States to implement a specific set of new sanctions against the government of Iran. These restrictive measures are itemized with the following headings: Export and Import Restrictions, Restrictions on Financing of Certain Enterprises, Freezing of Funds and Economic Resources of Certain Enterprises, Restrictions on Transfers of Funds and on Financial Services, and Restrictions on Transport. However, it contains no reference whatsoever to the residence status of ordinary Iranian people or Iranian students in European countries.

We find the actions of the IND arbitrary, discriminatory, meritless, and unjustly punitive of Iranian people. The resulting policy amounts to the forced emigration of many skilled and educated people, which will have negative ramifications for Dutch universities, and directly contradicts the government policy to broaden the knowledge economy, which relies heavily on highly educated foreign nationals.

This action, under the vague pretext of a European regulation, does not reflect the tolerance, compassion and traditional Dutch values that Iranians, as guests in this country, have come to know and appreciate. We, the undersigned, request that the Dutch government compel the IND to provide us with clear and transparent information and a concise legal justification for these actions and for the continued support of Iranian nationals who wish to study or work in the Netherlands.

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    Victor de Graaff

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    Mazyar Dawoodian, Iran

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