Refugees seeking suitable work
16 March 2007, AMSTERDAM – Can't anything be done about the fact that the asylum procedure takes ages? Recognised refugee Omyma Hamza just has to ask, even though she knows that the minister standing before her, Ella Vogelaar for Integration, is not in charge of the aslyum "procedures". The Volkskrant reports.
16 March 2007
AMSTERDAM – Can't anything be done about the fact that the asylum procedure takes ages? Recognised refugee Omyma Hamza just has to ask, even though she knows that the minister standing before her, Ella Vogelaar for Integration, is not in charge of the aslyum "procedures". The Volkskrant reports.
The minister says this comment is the pinnacle of integration. "It is great that you know something about how the topic is spread out over all those ministries." Three-quarters of asylum seekers have no problem with integration. The only problem is that they cannot find work. Even if they left their country of origin with a high level of education.
On Thursday the Dutch Refugee Council presented this and other problems in the Integration barometer 2006. This year's presentation was different from last year's in many respects. It was held at a chic hotel in The Hague rather than a small room at Madurodam, and the report was presented to the Integration Minister herself, not an MP.
And while the refugee organisations were not on very good terms with Rita Verdonk, the ice is broken immediately with Ella Vogelaar. "The motto of this government is living together, working together, I hope to do this with the Refugee Council as well."
Because there certainly are problems. Highly educated Baza Sumaili from Burundi explains to Vogelaar. He was caught up in the asylum procedure for five years and could do nothing else meanwhile. Now he has a permit, but along with it a gap in his career. Nor was he able to really start learning Dutch until recently. The delay means that he cannot find any better job than washing dishes in a restaurant.
Sumaili has a wife and three children in Burundi but must be earning EUR 1,400 net monthly in order to bring them over. As a dishwasher he doesn't earn that much. Furthermore he has to cough up hundreds of euros in fees to apply for permits.
Out of his meagre salary he is paying for his sociology degree in the hope of one day earning enough to bring his family over. "I want to be happy with my life and my family. We will be safe in the Netherlands."
Not being able to find a job is also the greatest frustration of university graduate Hamza from Sudan. She works as a volunteer in a free trade shop in a home for the elderly. "But a real job would give me a sense of really existing."
She too had to wait a long time before being allowed to take Dutch classes. How do most asylum seekers waiting for permits learn Dutch? "By watching Lingo."
The minister responded immediately to the fact that the percentage of refugees that are unemployed (30 percent) is higher than the number of unemployed immigrants.
"That is a waste of talent. In the future we will be facing great shortages on the labour market, we will be desperately in need of these kinds of people." Anyone who wants to should be able to learn Dutch at a higher level, she said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2007]
Subject: Dutch news