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Refugee policies - Netherlands

The #Netherlands is a strongly regulated country. Thus, this also applies in terms of #migration and #integration of individuals. For many years the state did not have a particular policy aimed at #newcomers’ integration. People arriving in the Netherlands, for example asylum seekers, were subject to a policy of participation applying to all citizens. There was no concrete plan or arrangement concerning the #integration of arriving individuals from different countries.

This changed within the often referred to as ‘#refugeecrisis’ between 2014 and 2016. The rising number of refugees arriving and claiming asylum in the Netherlands led the government to initiate policy measures explicitly targeted at these newcomers. As soon as temporary leave to remain is granted, the integration policy and its obligations for #refugees commences. The national Integration Law then requires the individual’s participation in reaching the civic integration objectives. This especially means the process of becoming self-sufficient trough learning the #Dutch language and finding a paid job. But also to get to know the Dutch society and culture.

Therefore, the newcomers have to attend certain courses, for which they have to pay for themselves. The state allows people to take a student loan to be able to cover the costs incurred. Within three years, the individual has to take and exam of integration. This exam consists of a Dutch language test (minimum A2 level) and a test of knowledge about the Dutch society. If individuals pass the test, the state bears the costs for the integration courses. If they fail, the state imposes sanctions as punishment.

Specific obligations applying to all citizens that are dependent on social assistance benefits count for newcomers such as refugees too. They are set in the participation law and especially address the refugee’s quick participation in the sector of paid work. In general, the Netherlands’ integration policy has been decentralized. Arriving refugees are subject of the place they are sent to. The sending happens in proportion to the population of the municipalities. They are eventually responsible for housing the newcomers.

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