Ministers back controversial citizenship law

16th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

16 June 2006, AMSTERDAM — The coalition government has rallied behind Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk and her controversial draft naturalisation law.

16 June 2006

AMSTERDAM — The coalition government has rallied behind Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk and her controversial draft naturalisation law.

Ministers said the legislation could be passed in the form laid out by Verdonk, the Immigration Minister told reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting on Friday. Support from her ministerial colleagues come as her draft law, three years in the making, has come in for strong criticism from official bodies and opposition MPs.

The advisory commission on foreigner affairs and the Dutch equality commission have all raised question marks about the legislation.

The main bone of contention is the proposal to make all naturalised citizens, no matter how long they have lived in the Netherlands, take an integration course. Critics say this would lead to unequal treatment of different groups of Dutch citizens. The result could be protracted court cases about discrimination.

Parliament has asked the Council of State to adjudicate on the issue and Verdonk said on Friday she is also waiting to receive its advice. But for the time being she said she is confident the distinction between naturalised and native-born Dutch citizens will be allowed.

Not only immigrants but indigenous Dutch people too should be able to speak and write Dutch, Labour MP Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in parliament on Monday during a discussion on the proposed legislation.

MPs are to discuss the issue again next Wednesday.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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