All Migrants to be forced to sign a "Participation Contract"
Any foreigners seeking to settle in a Dutch municipality will now be forced to sign a contract which states that they endorse the values of the Dutch constitution, and will uphold the rule of law in the Netherlands.
This is the plan put forward by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher in an interview with the Volkskrant. Asscher, an MP for the PvdA, has set out his vision for a new agenda on integration in a report to the parliament.
Though the contract itself is likely to hold only symbolic value, especially towards citizens of the EU who have the right to settle without barriers, all nationalities will be required to sign, potentially as a pre-requisitie to registering with the local gemeente.
Asscher's vision is for a "warm and loving" but at the same time "strict and clear" path towards integration. He is concerned that permissiveness in policy has created problems, stating that, "there is even talk that we are becoming backward in our views towards homosexuality, Jews and women. We have to be clear about what it is that makes this land so great: the freedom to be yourself."
The minister's hope is that the contract will make sure immigrants are better aware of the norms and values in the country in which they live. He also wishes to extend the questions on the inburgeringsexam, which currently focuses more on language and practicalities, to include questions on Dutch values and societal norms.
It is necessary to pass the inburgeringsexam, or an equivalent diploma, in order to be eligible for Dutch citizenship.
Though the inburgeringsexam is obligatory for almost all non-EU nationals, the legality of forcing such a contract on EU nationals, and countries such as Turkey with which the EU has special agreements, is yet to be established.
The timing of this new policy is pertinent, though, in light of the recent news that there has been no notable progress in the inegration of non-Western immigrants into Dutch society.
Asscher is bullish in his optimism, however, and believes that the EU has placed too much emphasis on the free movement of workers in recent decades.
He hopes that his new vision will help bring the integration debate to and new plane so that we "stop explaining why it is failing. We need to set the standard".