Non-EU partner, family migrants ‘must integrate’
1 March 2004
AMSTERDAM — A Justice Ministry spokeswoman has confirmed that non-European Union nationals are required to do an integration course if they arrive in the Netherlands to join their Dutch partner, but corrected an earlier mistake regarding treaties of exclusion.
She said US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and Japanese nationals will in future be exempted from having to complete an integration course in their home country because their national governments have signed treaties of exclusion with Dutch authorities.
The ministry spokeswoman previously indicated that the treaties also excluded US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and Japanese people from having to do integration courses in the Netherlands.
But she admitted the mistake to Expatica late last week and confirmed that the treaties only exclude those people from integration courses in their land of origin. She explained that a flurry of immigration legislative changes and proposals had contributed to the misunderstanding.
The Dutch Cabinet resolved on 6 February that non-EU marriage and family reunification migrants will be forced to complete an integration course in their land of origin before being allowed to enter the Netherlands.
The measure is mainly aimed at Turkish and Moroccan nationals and MPs in the Lower House of Parliament, the Tweede Kamer, must first approve of the plan.
And the spokeswoman with the Justice Ministry — which has responsibility for the immigration service IND — said the regulation did not apply to short-stay arrivals, such as expats and academics or students. EU nationals do not need to complete an integration course either.
The Netherlands is in the grips of an intensifying crackdown on immigration and the task of integrating immigrants into Dutch society. Currently, non-EU nationals who enter the Netherlands on a permanent basis are required to participate in an integration course.
But Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk proposed last week that all immigrants — both long-term and new-arrivals — should be forced to successfully complete an integration course.
The proposal includes long-term Dutch immigrant residents, newly-arrived immigrants and non-EU expats who enter the Netherlands for work and have been in the country for more than three years.
The proposal is another step towards tougher Dutch immigration laws, in which the Parliament approved last month a new amnesty and deportation plan that will give about 2,300 long-term asylum seekers a residence permit, but deport 26,000 others.
It is being described as the biggest deportation since World War II.
With a highly visible ethnic community in a population of 16 million, Dutch politicians have long sought a way to stimulate integration and reduce immigration.
The general mood hit fever pitch when anti-immigrant politician Pim Fortuyn shocked the nation prior to the 15 May 2002 election when he stated publicly that the Netherlands was full.
Despite immediate condemnation of his statement and his assassination at the hands of an animal rights activist on 6 May 2002, his message lifted the taboo on anti-immigration statements and policies.
The anti-immigration feeling has subsequently taken deeper root in Dutch political thinking and with Minister Verdonk’s Liberal VVD ruling coalition party unveiling a radical get-tough policy last month, the end to the immigration crackdown is not yet in sight.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news