The Dutch are 'too pessimistic about integration'
People in the Netherlands are far too pessimistic about the integration of immigrants. The overriding picture is that Dutch integration policies have failed, but in fact there are a multitude of positive developments, according to Sadik Harchaoui of Forum, the Institute for Multicultural Affairs IMV.
His comments come in response to the Annual Integration Report produced by the Dutch Statistics Office CBS. This indicates that the second generation of non-Western immigrants performs much better than their parents’ generation as far as education and work are concerned.
“We rarely dare to believe or allow ourselves to accept that what’s actually happening is far better than what’s generally thought to be the case,” he says. “The children of immigrants have put on a phenomenal sprint. That’s something the Netherlands can be proud of.” He does admit that it will take years for the immigrant community to catch up with the native Dutch.
School results One of the things the CBS report shows is that non-Western immigrants are doing increasingly better at school. In 2003/2004, 28 percent of them were doing highest level of studies in their third year of secondary school. In 2009/2010, the figure had increased to 32 percent. An improvement, but still far short of the 50 percent scored by their native-community counterparts.
Crime The developments around crime are less positive. Second-generation Turkish and Moroccan immigrants are more often criminal suspects than people from their parents’ generation. More than half Moroccan-Dutch youths have been in trouble with the police.
Dutch The researchers have also established that members of the non-Western immigrant community who were born in the Netherlands more often consider themselves to be Dutch than do their parents. Their chances in the jobs market are also better. Nearly 50 percent of the people making up the largest non-Western immigrant communities – Turkish, Moroccan, Surinamese and Caribbean - were born in the Netherlands.
The report also shows that fewer second than first-generation immigrants choose a partner from their land of origin. Mothers from non-Western communities have their first children at about the same age as native-community mothers.
Emigration The number of second-generation non-Western immigrants who emigrate away from the Netherlands has been decreasing for some years. Those who do leave the country tend to be living on benefits and to be less educated than those who stay.
The influx of immigrants from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria has increased since these countries joined the European Union. Their numbers stabilised during the economic crisis. Recent migrant workers from Eastern Europe are more likely to leave the Netherlands again than those who came before them. In the past, most entered the country as part of whole families.
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