Why this story matters:
Passing civic integration exams is mandatory for all non-EEA, Swiss or Turkish immigrants who enter the Netherlands. These exams include Dutch language tasks, but many newcomers have been struggling to find schools who can adequately prepare them.
It’s been reported that some students received less than half of the number of lessons they were promised. Some courses were being offered in Arabic instead of Dutch.
Policy prescriptions and procedures can be difficult to implement. With the intense rise of refugees seeking asylum in EU countries in 2015, nations have seen their integration strategies fail many times. The Netherlands is known for its aggressive integration policies, and the recent complaints are raising eyebrows both inside and outside the country.
Once again, it’s proof that answers are seldom obvious when it comes to integration. As a whole, the situation reveals that the Dutch state seems to have underestimated the importance of language when it comes to integrating outsiders.
Details from the story:
- New integration laws were implemented in the Netherlands in 2013, the biggest change being that non-EU newcomers were able to choose their own language courses. To a certain extent, each migrant became responsible for their own efforts to integrate.
- The inspection body ‘Blik op Werk’ received 110 complaints about language schools last year; the claims will be investigated
- DUO (the state body for the implementation of education) can lend up to 10,000 Euros to immigrants for their courses. They don’t have to pay the loan back if they pass the integration exam within three years
- Since January 1, 2018, registered schools can no longer ask students for an advance payment
- Immigrants generally speak more languages than the average person in their country of residence