21 May 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government plans to scrap the law allowing third generation migrants to maintain dual nationality. Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk said it is “not permissible” for this group of people to have two passports.
The plans are part of the Cabinet’s response to the Blok Commission report into Dutch integration policy. The Cabinet said it agreed with the commission’s findings that the integration of many immigrants has wholly or partially succeeded.
Despite this, the Cabinet also said on Wednesday afternoon that too many immigrants lived too far removed from Dutch society, Amsterdam-based daily newspaper Het Parool reported.
Verdonk said ministers not only intended to abolish the right of third generation migrants to hold dual nationality, but that it also considered dual nationality undesirable in general.
The Cabinet intends to devise other measures against dual nationality, measures that will also affect other generations. Verdonk could not say how many people would be affected or reveal the plans in greater detail.
The minister said she was aware the proposals would prove difficult for some migrants, such as those from Morocco. The Moroccan government prevents its nationals from giving up their citizenship. The Cabinet will try to bring about change via diplomatic channels.
According to the Cabinet, dual nationality hinders integration. “People who choose for Dutch nationality, show that they are willing to integrate,” Verdonk said.
Under the government’s plans, naturalisation will be accompanied with a special ceremony. Local ceremonies will be held nation-wide and the intention is to add extra gloss to naturalisation.
Minister Verdonk also plans to work with the Islamic community to devise a special course for imams. The course would involve learning the Dutch language and norms and standards and means that imams will not need to be recruited abroad.
MPs in the Lower House of Parliament, the Tweede Kamer, had requested that restrictions be placed on dual nationality. The Parliament has also demanded that imams be forced to undergo a type of integration course.
Under other plans, the Cabinet spoke against forcing the spread students to create multi-racial schools. But new schools may only have among its student population, a maximum of 80 percent that is classed to have a disadvantage. These children are said to have an “achterstand” and are often migrant children.
Furthermore, cities will gain greater funding to create greater diversity of accommodation to reduce the concentration of low-income households and to improve suburban liveability.
The Cabinet also believes that the emancipation of women and employment play an important role in integration, but it is opposed to positive discrimination to recruit migrant workers into the workforce.
The Blok Commission was set up last year to investigate Dutch immigration policy over the past 30 years. It handed down its findings in January 2004 and said a large number of immigrants fully or at least partially managed to fit into life in the Netherlands despite the apparent failure of government integration policies.
The report did not specifically label integration policies as a failure, but said integration took place in the Netherlands “in spite of” rather then “thanks to” the policies of successive governments.
Commission chief and Liberal VVD MP Stef Blok said he was pleased that the Cabinet had taken on the investigation’s findings.
The findings were initially sharply criticised and its recommendations labelled as weak, but Blok said the Parliament has since come around also and that this was a pleasing contrast to the situation in January.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news