Little enthusiasm for newcomer 'participation contract'

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Only MPs from social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher's own Labour party are enthusiastic about plans to make all newcomers to the Netherlands sign a 'participation contract', news agency ANP said on Wednesday evening.

The plan, launched earlier this month, is part of a wider approach which Asscher hopes will improve the integration of immigrants into Dutch society. The contract would be signed by all new arrivals, including people from the EU and other countries with special treaties.

While Labour MP Keklik Yucel said the contract would be 'a good way to make it clear to migrants what opting for the Netherlands entails', others said it would have symbolic value only.


During the general debate on his integration strategy document, Asscher said it is a shame so many parties 'have principle objections to a plan which they are not familiar with'.

The minister agreed to look into allowing children who do not have Dutch as a first language to start school when they are two and a half, in order to boost their verbal skills.

The minister hopes to have more clarity on the legal difficulties surrounding the participation contract later this year.


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