MPs reject integration of Dutch nationals

14th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

14 December 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Dutch Immigration Minster Rita Verdonk has come under pressure to amend her policies by MPs, who demanded Dutch nationals be exempt from having to undertake integration exams.

14 December 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dutch Immigration Minster Rita Verdonk has come under pressure to amend her policies by MPs, who demanded  Dutch nationals be exempt from having to undertake integration exams.

Parliament's demand was designed to prevent Dutch people born outside of the Netherlands to Dutch nationals living or working in a foreign country having to integrate upon their return to the Netherlands.

Verdonk unveiled plans earlier this month to force everyone up to the age of 65 who have not completed eight years of Dutch education to integrate. MPs claim forcing such people to integrate would be a waste of government money.

Under the Liberal Party (VVD) minister's plans, integration courses for new arrivals, jobless workers, women without work or on social security, and imams would take priority. If they do not pass an exam, they can be fined or refused a residence permit.

Once these groups has integrated, Verdonk intends to focus on other sections of society, such as long-term immigrants. This group accounts for half of the 750,000 people the minister has earmarked for integration, but there is insufficient funding to make them all integrate now.

It is hoped that at least 20,000 will voluntarily enrol in integration courses at their own expense each year, newspaper De Telegraaf reported. But Verdonk disagreed with the parliament that the government would be tolerating breaches of the obligation to integrate of some groups in society in coming years.

The minister has said she will combine several parliamentary proposals in a definite plan in a bid to add prestige to the gaining of Dutch citizenship.

Several MPs have criticised the current practice of sending passports in the post to people who have received Dutch nationality.  Some parties have called for the introduction of a citizenship ceremony in which the Dutch national anthem, the Wilhelmus, would be played.

The ceremony could also involve the presentation of a Dutch citizenship certificate or setting aside a special day for such occasions.

"It should be a great party, integration and naturalisation," Verdonk said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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