Naturalisation law won't discriminate, says Verdonk
12 June 2006, AMSTERDAM — It was in the urgent interests of society to distinguish between naturalised Dutch and indigenous Dutch people, minister of integration Rita Verdonk said in the parliament yesterday. A number of parties had strongly criticised her controversial new law on naturalisation.
12 June 2006
AMSTERDAM — It was in the urgent interests of society to distinguish between naturalised Dutch and indigenous Dutch people, minister of integration Rita Verdonk said in the parliament yesterday. A number of parties had strongly criticised her controversial new law on naturalisation.
Verdonk’s law will oblige all foreigners in the Netherlands to take a naturalisation test. Spokespersons for various parties in parliament criticized the bill, saying it could lead to discrimination. A number of advisory bodies have warned of the danger of discrimination.
Verdonk maintains that it is not in contravention of the principle of equal treatment to treat unequal cases unequally. She said that she could not guarantee that the legislation would not have to be defended in the courts. "The judge always has the last word," the minister said.
The naturalisation law might be judged negatively with respect to a particular person or group, but that would not mean that the law itself was invalid. "The measure would still apply to other groups," said Verdonk.
She said that her proposed law has been carefully written and that it is valid. Civil servants in her ministry had taken into consideration a number of legal and advisory studies, she said.
Immigrants failing to pass the naturalisation tests within five years risk a fine or non-renewal of their residence permits. Around half a million people will be forced to take a naturalisation test if the bill is passed.
The law would affect around 260,000 people who had already naturalised, the minister said. Three main groups were targeted: naturalised immigrants who do not have work; parents still caring for children; and people who worked as spiritual advisors. Only people who had not already done the present naturalisation test, which has been a requirement for newcomers for some years, would be affected, she said.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news