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Last Updated: Friday, 13 May, 2005, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Anger over Dutch expulsion plans
Curacao, Netherlands Antilles
There are 130,000 people from the Dutch Antilles in the Netherlands
Dutch integration minister Rita Verdonk says the cabinet has agreed to her policy of expelling jobless immigrants from the Netherlands Antilles.

Under the plan, Antilleans aged 18 to 24 who do not start work or study within three months will be sent home.

Mrs Verdonk said the Netherlands was not a land of milk and honey for those who couldn't make a living elsewhere.

The Netherlands Antilles' Prime Minister, Etienne Ys, has complained that he was not consulted.

He described the proposal as "a restriction of freedom", adding that Antilleans were entitled to freedom of movement within the Kingdom because they carry Dutch passports.

The Dutch centre-right cabinet says the policy is aimed at weeding out the criminal element among youths from the Netherlands Antilles - a federation of five territories including Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten (the Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin).

Better training

Mrs Verdonk said the harsh measures were directed at "youngsters that think that when they get off the plane scooters and mobile phones will be waiting for them".

"For people who have a job or want to study here there will be no problems," AFP quotes her as saying.

Earlier this week, Roy Pieters, president of the consultative body of Caribbean Dutch nationals told the Dutch daily Trouw: "I thought the Antilleans were also Dutch nationals but apparently that is not the case."

Opposition parties have accused the government of colonialism and argue that the move is illegal as all Dutch passport holders are to be treated equally.

They agree with Mr Ys that the government should have opted for training programmes instead - for unemployed Antillean youths - both in the Netherlands and in the Caribbean.

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