Obligatory integration creeps closer
29 March 2005, AMSTERDAM — Non-EU permanent immigrants aged 16 to 65 will be forced to undergo integration classes in the Netherlands in future, the Dutch government has decided.
29 March 2005
AMSTERDAM — Non-EU permanent immigrants aged 16 to 65 will be forced to undergo integration classes in the Netherlands in future, the Dutch government has decided.
Both new arrivals and immigrants already living in the country — and who have not lived in the Netherlands for eight years when they were of school age — will be obliged to attend integration classes.
Exemptions will be granted to those who have certain Dutch, Antillean or Aruban diplomas.
Under the proposal by Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, new arrivals will need to acquire Dutch speaking, writing and reading skills equivalent to students in VMBO vocational secondary education.
Long-term immigrants may sit an exam at a lower level because they have often had little or no education.
Those obliged to take an integration exam will be required to pay for the course themselves. If they pass the exam within three years they will be repaid part of the course costs.
In general, immigrants will be required to pass the exam within five years and within 3.5 years if they have already undergone a pre-arrival exam in their country of origin.
Municipal councils can impose fines if the immigrants do no pass the course within the agreed time frame, the website regering.nl said.
MPs have vocally criticised Verdonk's integration plans in the past year and the Liberal VVD minister has been forced to amend the legislation to remove legal obstacles, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.
But the Cabinet approved her plan on 24 March and it will now be submitted to the Council of State for advice. Once this advice has been issued, the proposal will be lodged with the Lower House of Parliament for approval.
A spokesman for the Justice Ministry said the proposal could be enacted prior to the parliament's summer recess.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news