Verdonk criticised over integration about-face
10 August 2005, AMSTERDAM — Minister Rita Verdonk faces a storm of criticism from two government parties over her 'unfeasible' plans to compel newcomers to take integration courses.
10 August 2005
AMSTERDAM — Minister Rita Verdonk faces a storm of criticism from two government parties over her 'unfeasible' plans to compel newcomers to take integration courses.
As Verdonk returns from holiday this week she will have to respond to criticism from MPs of her Liberal Party's coalition partners — the Christian Democrats (CDA) and Democrat D66.
The two parties are angry that the Immigration and Integration Minister stuck to her plans to make some 750,000 newcomers, aged 16 to 65, sit integration exams despite clear signs the scheme was unfeasible, newspaper 'De Volkskrant' reported.
Her critics charge that her abstinence means the integration system cannot yet be implemented despite the need for it.
The issue came to a head on Tuesday when newspaper 'NRC Handelsblad' reported that only half the original number of newcomers earmarked for integration would now have to take a course.
The paper based its story on a confidential memorandum prepared by the director of legislation at the Ministry of Justice.
The NRC said Verdonk will have to radically rework her plans for an integration course and exam because the Council of State has ruled the current plan is discriminatory.
Under her original proposal everyone up to the age of 65 with less than eight years of schooling in the Netherlands would have been obliged to pass an integration exam. Certain categories of newcomers — including EU citizens — were to have an exemption.
Now her officials suggest further limiting the obligation to undertake an integration course to people who moved here after 1975, the year Suriname gained its independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Her spokesperson refused to comment on the NRC report because it is based on an internal government document.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news