Big Dutch cities critical of Verdonk's citizenship plans

9th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

Date: 9 June 2006, AMSTERDAM – The Netherlands' four big cities have criticised minister of integration Rita Verdonk’s plan to force all immigrants to do a language test, no matter how long they have lived here.The cities – Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague – levelled their criticism of the minister in a letter to her and to the Dutch parliament that was also signed by Tilburg and the association of Dutch city councils. Parliament will be discussing the minister’s plans on Monday.

Date: 9 June 2006

AMSTERDAM – The Netherlands' four big cities have criticised minister of integration Rita Verdonk’s plan to force all immigrants to do a language test, no matter how long they have lived here.

The cities – Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague – levelled their criticism of the minister in a letter to her and to the Dutch parliament that was also signed by Tilburg and the association of Dutch city councils. Parliament will be discussing the minister’s plans on Monday.

A new law proposed by the minister will require that all immigrants do a language test, whether they are recent arrivals or long established. The city councils were not against ideas for naturalizing immigrants better, but they predicted that Verdonk’s plans would be beset by organisational, technical and financial problems. They also said that they were being limited in their own naturalization programmes.

The councils said that an approach tailored to the needs of individuals would be more successful in helping them to participate in society.

‘The law as a whole is about passing an exam, and not about the proper goal, which should be getting more people to participate in society,’ the letter says.

‘Let’s use the money available for programmes that have real content, and let’s not be distracted by the idea of exams,’ Rotterdam alderman Orhan Kaya told Radio 1 on Friday. ‘The fact is that [this measure] will scare people off, when they should want to do a [language or naturalization] course themselves.’

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

 

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