Dutch integration law 'equals pestering people'

3rd May 2006, Comments 0 comments

3 May 2006, AMSTERDAM — Minorities lobby group LOM began collecting signatures in Utrecht on Wednesday for a nationwide petition against the government's plan to introduce an integration course for immigrants living in the Netherlands.

3 May 2006

AMSTERDAM — Minorities lobby group LOM began collecting signatures in Utrecht on Wednesday for a nationwide petition against the government's plan to introduce an integration course for immigrants living in the Netherlands.

LOM says the new course will be compulsory, while the cost and quality of the education remains unclear, as are the consequences of failing the exam. "You are just pestering people when you do it in this way," Agnes Jongerius, leader of the FNV trade union federation said.

The FNV is concerned migrants will not be given a fair chance in the Netherlands, mainly because the course may prove to be too expensive for people with little money. It has posted a message on its website calling on people to support LOM's action. LOM is an umbrella body for eight organisations representing minority groups. 

The law on the integration course and exam is due to come into operation in 2007. Newcomers and established migrants up to the age of 65 with less than eight years of education at a Dutch school will be obliged to take the course. People who pass the exam will receive a certificate or diploma.

"They want to force a 62-year-old mother, living here for years and who has a Dutch passport, to learn the Dutch language. Say she doesn't succeed; will she receive a temporary residence permit? Will she have to leave the country?" Mustafa Ayranci of the Turkish Contact Group asked. Ayranci is coordinator of LOM's campaign.

Jongerius said it was "nothing more than normal" to ask people who want to live here to learn Dutch, but only of the government ensured there are sufficient affordable courses with a quality guarantee.

An integration course and exam for would-be immigrants is already in operation. While expats from most developed countries are exempted from taking the overseas exam, Immigration and Integration Ministry spokesperson Maud Bredero said on Wednesday that citizens from non-EU countries who want to live in the Netherlands on a permanent basis will have to take the integration course in the Netherlands.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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