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IOM Assists with DNA Sample Collection Family Reunification

Many Dutch embassies and consulates-general closed due to COVID-19, which caused a backlog in the DNA sampling for Family Reunification processes. We partner with the Dutch government to assist with DNA sampling in Greece, Sudan, and Turkey.

As of May 2021, we started a collaboration with the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We are assisting with the DNA sampling of family members residing in Greece, Sudan, and Turkey to support their reunification with family members in the Netherlands. The local measures and global impacts of COVID-19 forced Dutch embassies and consulates-general around the world to close temporarily, making it difficult to schedule families for DNA sampling. As such, we are happy that the IND can rely on us to ensure that the backlog is diminishing every day. While the pandemic continues, we are proud to see how our Missions in Greece, Sudan and Turkey are able to support a rapid reduction of the IND backlog. Since May 2021, we have so far successfully processed DNA samples for 427 family members.

When the IND reviews applications for Family Reunification, a DNA test may be required to prove family ties if insufficient documentation of the family relation is available. While Dutch embassies and consulates-general in the countries of departure usually take up this task, COVID-19 posed significant challenges and caused a delay in the resumption of DNA sampling. As a result of our global presence and medical expertise, we were able to quickly take over the operational aspects of the DNA sampling, supporting families with a key step in their reunification process. Once appointments for DNA sample collection have been set, we welcome the family members in our Medical Health Assessment Centres (MHAC) to conduct the sampling in a COVID-19-proof environment. Our aim is to set realistic appointments based on the migrants’ place of residence of the migrants and with consideration for any local measures regarding domestic travel.

We believe in the right to family reunification and are happy to contribute to the implementation of an important step in this process. We are pleased to cooperate with the IND and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the progress being made, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.