Postpone Integration Law, Councils Tell Verdonk (The Netherlands)

Postpone integration law, councils tell Verdonk
8 September 2006
Expatica News

AMSTERDAM It is impossible to introduce the new integration law by 1 January next year as Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk wants, the association of local authorities (VNG) warned on Friday.

The VNG urged Verdonk to decide on a new “realistic” date.

Implementation of the law, which Verdonk has been working on for three years, has been postponed several times. It will compel newcomers and certain groups of long-term non-Dutch residents to pass an integration exam.

Candidates who do not sit the exam within a particular period can face various sanctions. Many have to pay for the cost of the integration course and exam.

The VNG said the Senate (Eerste Kamer) will consider the legislation on 31 October. Once the law is published in the Staatsblad (Bulletin of Acts), local authorities will need a minimum of three months to make the final arrangements.

Integration is important for society, the VNG said, and therefore it is essential the law is implemented properly.

The Council of State (Raad van State) has drawn a line through part of the legislation, broadcaster RTL reported last month. The Council said holders of Dutch passports cannot be compelled to take an integration course. Verdonk said she regretted the advice, but will follow it.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news