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Netherlands: New integration policies fail migrants & society, research shows

Two recently published research reports suggest that the educational and professional performances of migrants are stagnating, if not deteriorating, in comparison with the prior 2013 period when municipalities provided support to those following mandatory civic integration courses. 

The first one, published in December 2016 by the Netherlands Institute for Social Research - SCP, focuses on the integration of second and third generation migrants in the Netherlands. The research team concludes that, in areas such as educational achievement and employment, migrants and their children are still not doing as well as native Dutch nationals. NGOs working with newcomers blame such situation on the 2012 amendments to the Civic Integration Act, confirmed in the 2014 Civic Integration Act, which places the responsibility of finding and financing a suitable civic integration course on migrants. 

The other research, carried out by the Dutch Court of Audit, partially agrees with these accusations as it shows that only 4 out of the 10 migrants pass the civic integration exam, while the success rate was of 80% when the government was actively involved in offering courses and organising exams. The Court of Audit adds that the ‘vision’ behind the new integration policies is also to blame. ‘The government and receiving society sees integration as the sole responsibility of the newcomer ... but it is in everyone’s best interest that newcomers have a smooth integration process’. In addition, previous studies highlighted the significantly decreasing number of migrants following civic integration classes, while some 165 companies currently offer integration courses without a proper quality control system.

Cities have reacted by asking for the law and accompanying policies to go back to the way they were before 2013. Minister Asscher, responsible for migrant integration, agrees that the new policies are not optimal and that changes are needed. 

SCP's Report and main findings

Court of Audit's research and main findings