Dutch citizenship exam doesn't help integration
The integration or citizenship exam which all immigrants must take in order to gain Dutch nationality is a barrier rather than a pathway into integration, a PhD student at the Radboud University in Nijmegen has concluded.
This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the so-called Inburgeringsexamen which took the place of a simple conversation between a municipality representative and any candidate for citizenship in 2003.
Since its introduction, the annual number of newly naturalised Dutch citizens has diminished significantly. In 2002, the number of Dutch passports given out was approximately 29.000, and within two years this number had halved to the level where it currently remains.
A selective role
PhD candidate Ricky van Oers recorded the views and experiences of 163 immigrants in the Netherlands who would like to become naturalised, while also interviewing some 51 policy makers on the subject of the integration exam.
Her research found that around a quarter of those who take the exam fail it, and a number of immigrants don’t even consider taking it, especially in light of the fact that the exam now costs 250 euros to register for and the overall costs of naturalisation can run into the thousands of euros.
Interviewed in the newspaper Trouw, Van Oers is quoted as saying that the exam "does not play an integrative role but a selective one," further isolating immigrants who struggle to get a mortgage, business loan or even permanent residency permit as a result of not passing or taking the exam.