Many are failing or skipping the Dutch civic integration exam
The Dutch government has recently expressed concern about the low number of new arrivals to the Netherlands who take and pass the required inburgeringsexamen.
Out of the 53.000 people who became inburgeringsplichtig (required to pass the civic integration exam) in 2013, 2014 and 2015, 47.000 still need to pass the exam.
Among other things, it is necessary to pass the civic integration exam (or achieve an equivalent diploma) to be eligible for Dutch citizenship.
Dutch Minister for Social Affairs Lodewijk Asscher has informed the Tweede Kamer that the issue needs to be investigated, the Volkskrant reports. One measure he wants to take is to create stricter guidelines for the providers of inburgerings courses, the preparatory class that is supposed to make people ready to pass the exam.
The invitation letter to the exam, which is in Dutch, will soon also be posted online in 34 languages.
Three years to pass inburgeringsexamen
Once you become inburgeringsplichtig in the Netherlands, you have three years to pass the exam. For those who reached that status in 2013, that period has or will soon pass.
40 percent failed to pass exam
Half of the people who were required to pass the test by the first quarter of 2016, had not done so by April 1, according to Assher. Out of this group, 40 percent took the exam but failed. The rest did not take the test.
The worst-performing demographic are asylum seekers, mainly due to lack of sufficient support. Migrants with family already in the Netherlands typically do better on the exam.
Consequences for not passing the test
Malik Azmani of the VVD has asked Asscher to look into punishing those who wilfully do not take the civic integration exam. Options include withholding unemployment benefits or not extending temporary residence permits.
Peter Heerma of the CDA wants to take it one step further and kick out the people who by their own fault don’t pass the test.
Ahmed Marcouch of the PvdA calls for more active guidance of newcomers and a more comprehensive process of integration that extends beyond just an exam.