Pre-arrival integration moves a step closer
20 April 2004
AMSTERDAM — It is increasingly likely that non-EU foreigners wishing to settle permanently in the Netherlands will in future be required to complete an integration course in their country of origin following approval of the proposal by the Council of State.
A majority of MPs have already indicated they are in favour of the plan and Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk said on Monday that the Council of State — which advises the government on legislation — had also largely approved the proposal.
If the plan is implemented, the Netherlands will become the first nation to demand non-European Union immigrants complete a pre-arrival integration course in their country of origin, news agency ANP reported.
The proposal is primarily focused on a foreign partner or family moving to the Netherlands to be with a Dutch national or resident. About three quarters of second generation migrants — particularly people of Turkish and Moroccan descent — marry someone from their country of origin.
Besides compulsory integration courses, the government has also resolved in future that Dutch residents must earn at least 120 percent of the minimum wage and be 21 years old or more before being allowed to bring their foreign partner into the country. The plan states that immigrants must also be aged at least 21.
Minister Verdonk said that migrant youth do not object to the plans and a series of meetings with young Turkish and Moroccan people had indicated that many of them did not wish to have a foreign partner. She said they were happy they were not under pressure any longer to “import” a partner.
The Netherlands is experiencing a backlash against immigration, leading to calls to force foreigners to study the Dutch language and culture to assist their integration.
The Lower House of Parliament, the Tweede Kamer, must first vote on the legislative proposal before the pre-arrival integration courses can be implemented.
Immigrants from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan are excluded from the requirement to complete a pre-arrival integration course.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news