The government is planning to introduce compulsory integration courses for Turkish nationals moving to the Netherlands when the new integration legislation comes into effect next year, social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees has told MPs.
Turkish nationals have been exempt from the courses since 2011 because the requirement conflicted with EU treaties with Turkey. However, a ‘change in interpretation’ of the EU treaty with Turkey means that the requirement can be brought back, Koolmees said in a briefing.
Most non-EU nationals have to go through the inburgering programme. ‘Integration [courses] are an important way for newcomers to find their way in society and learn the language via work, a traineeship or volunteer work,’ the ministerial statement said.
The social affairs ministry is currently working on new inburgering regulations, which it hopes to introduce on January 1 next year. The new rules mean Turkish nationals will have to pass a basic exam before they move to the Netherlands. That exam will include an introduction to the language and Dutch society.
Once in the Netherlands, local authorities will be charged with devising a tailor-made programme for each individual. The new rules will not apply to Turkish nationals already living in the Netherlands. Last year, some 9,500 Turkish nationals moved to the Netherlands, and 5,000 left.
Several hundred Turkish nationals also claimed asylum. If their claims are successful, they will not have to contribute financially to the cost of their integration courses.