Academics raise doubt about integration exams

16th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

16 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — The pre-arrival integration exams that immigrants will be forced to sit are inadequate, various academics have told MPs.

16 March 2005

AMSTERDAM — The pre-arrival integration exams that immigrants will be forced to sit are inadequate, various academics have told MPs.

The Dutch Parliament was debating on Wednesday the integration exams that non-European Union permanent immigrants will be forced to complete to gain entry to the Netherlands.

The exams must be completed at a Dutch embassy in their country of origin. About 14,000 people are expected to undergo the exams each year. The exams will be completed via telephone with automated voice recognition technology.

But sociology of law professor Kees Groenendijk (Radboud University in Nijmegen), language and speech technology academic Lou Boves (Catholic University in Nijmegen) and constitutional law professor Tijn Kortmaan (Catholic University) claim the exams are not up to standard.

They told MPs that speech recognition technology is not advanced enough and immigrants could fail the test due to speech impediments or accents. Even Dutch natives would often be misunderstood by computers operating speech-recognition programmes, they claimed.

The three academics compare the computer system with speech-based lie detectors. "All independent tests show that these are unreliable," Boves told newspaper De Volkskrant.

But a spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk rejected the criticism and said the exams will be just as reliable as if they were taken in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands is set to become the first country to demand permanent immigrants take a Dutch language and culture test prior to gaining entry to the exams. The plan is designed to reduce the number of immigrant partners, particularly those from Turkey and Morocco.

US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and Japanese nationals wishing to join their Dutch partner in the Netherlands are exempt from the pre-arrival courses. Temporary stay expats moving to the Netherlands for work will also be exempted.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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