1975-2001: Dutch History Photo Commissions > Asylum seekers and "white" illegal immigrants

Witte illegalen in hongerstaking in de Agneskerk in Den Haag, 1998-1999, fotograaf Wessing

"White" illegal immigrants are mostly Moroccans and Turks who have been working in the Netherlands for a long period of time without a residence permit, but in possession of a Sofi-number (Social Fiscal Number). Although they were residing in the Netherlands illegally, they worked "white", meaning that they paid their taxes and contributions just like everybody else. They could expect a residence permit if they could prove that they had been working in the Netherlands without interruption for an long period of time. Most of them were not able to do this, because they had often done seasonal labour. It looked like they were not going to get their permit.

With various kinds of actions, such as a hunger strike, they tried to get the government to liberalize the rules. This series includes photographs of asylum seekers who have exhausted all legal procedures and who must leave the Netherlands via one of the special camps for rejected asylum seekers who are to be expelled. There are also images of refugees from former Yugoslavia, who took refuge from the war in their country.

Photo's made in 1998 and ‘99 in addition to Wessing’s photo's from 1995 and ’97.

Koen Wessing

Examples from this collection 1975-2001: Dutch History Photo Commissions

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