Poor migrants not wanted by ‘problem’ cities
23 April 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Cabinet is expected to allow the four largest Dutch cities to refuse impoverished people from moving there in a bid to improve urban living conditions. At the same time, councils are set to gain greater powers to fight socio-economic problems.
The measures, which make up a special emergency legislative change intended for the Randstad cities, come after Rotterdam raised alarm about the deterioration of the city last year. Much of the concern was focused at impoverished immigrant communities.
The cabinet was expected at its weekly Friday meeting to approve the plan that will pave the way for Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht to use income levels as a means to refuse people from moving to the city.
Poorer immigrants — many of whom are unemployed and poorly integrated into Dutch society — often accumulate in certain city suburbs, forming ghetto-like urban districts. Low-income earners could in future be refused from settling in problem suburbs.
It was reported earlier this week that Dutch cities will gain greater powers to crack down on illegal immigrants. The immigration service will be bolstered to increase the number of deportations, and landlords who rent or sublet homes to illegal immigrants will face stronger penalties.
Companies that establish locations in certain city areas will be given fiscal benefits. The city areas singled out have a large number of unemployed people live.
It is considered of particular note that the large cities will be able to take measures that do not apply uniformly across the entire country.
The proposals from Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk also state that almost 500,000 immigrants who have lived in the Netherlands for a long period of time — but do not speak adequate Dutch — will be forced to complete an integration course.
Older Turkish and Moroccan men and women aged up to 65 will also be obligated to complete an integration course. If they refuse, they could be fined or have their social security payments reduced.
But unemployed migrants and women will not be required to arrange and pay for a course without government assistance. Instead, city councils can assist them to ensure they have sufficient time to look for work.
Councils are also demanding that unemployed migrants should not be forced to go into debt to complete an integration course.
The Dutch government is moving to crack down against immigration and integration problems and in another legislative proposal in which it aims to become the first country to force immigrants who wish to settle permanently in the Netherlands to complete pre-arrival integration courses in their country of origin.
In a bid to reduce partner and family unification immigration, the cabinet is also intending to force Dutch nationals or residents to be at least 21 years of age and earn 120 percent of the minimum wage before allowing them to bring their foreign partner or family into the country.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news