Science - December 6, 2007

One euro short of a residence permit

Two international board members of the Wageningen Students Organisation are under threat of deportation from the Netherlands. The immigration office IND states that the grant they get from the university is not enough to cover the cost of living.

Chick Tassi Yunga (left) and Sijing Liu will not be going home for Christmas this year.
Sijing Liu, a Chinese student, has an income of 625 euros a month, 1 euro and 24 cents less than required by the IND. Liu and Chick Tassi Yunga from Cameroon are the first non-EU full-time board members of a student organisation in Wageningen.

Yunga was shocked when he received the reply from the IND to his application for a residence permit. ‘It was like a bomb exploding.’ Yunga and Liu both receive a grant (bestuursbeurs) of 470 euros a month. However, this is not enough to qualify for a residence permit. They had to prove to the IND that they have sufficient other means to support themselves. Liu thought she had enough savings in the bank, but it proved to be 15 euros less than was required. ‘I still can’t believe it.’

Yunga borrowed money from his brother. In his case, the IND stated in their rejection of his application that he had not provided proof that the university has granted him a bestuursbeurs.
Neither he nor Liu can leave the Netherlands during the Christmas break, because they no longer have a legitimate permit.

Liu: ‘The problem was that we did not know exactly how much money we needed. Only after I got the rejection, did I find the information. When I made the application for a residence permit I only knew approximately how much money I needed, and I never thought it would get me into trouble.’

Yunga: ‘It appears that they need to see the total amount of money on my bank account. But of course I do not have it. The university pays out the grant in monthly instalments. I cannot show money they have not given me yet.’

University spokesman Simon Vink says the university is willing to help the students with the paperwork, but is not prepared to give more money to international students in a similar position. ‘We treat Dutch and international board members of student organisations equally.’

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