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Migrants, take note: Several changes to the Civic Integration Act coming up

Starting in 2013, migrants with regular residence permits who are required to take the civic integration exam (Inburgeringsexamen) will have to pay for the necessary preparation themselves. If they cannot afford to do so, they will be eligible for a soft loan to cover the cost of their courses and examination.

They will not have to repay this loan until their income has reached a set level. Migrants from the EU and Turkey will also qualify for such loans if they undertake the civil integration process voluntarily. The Dutch government says that it will ensure that there are sufficient accredited courses available.

This is one of the changes to the Civic Integration Act affecting the mandatory integration of migrants that has just been approved by the Senate.

The short version of the inburgering exam, the Korte Vrijstellingstoets, will stop entirely as of 1 January; anyone interested in taking that route can sign up here. Also, the practical examination and various means of testing civic integration are being replaced by a single centralised exam.

Migrants who, through their own fault, fail to pass their integration examination within three years can have their temporary regular residence permit retracted. If their permit cannot be withdrawn, for example because they are recognised asylum seekers, a fine can be imposed upon them for not passing the exam within the allotted period.

Local authorities will be allocated 1.000 euros per person for initial support for asylum seekers admitted to the Netherlands. Gerd Leers, the Minister for Immigration, Integration and Asylum Policy, has set aside over 5 million euros for this purpose.

Local authorities will continue to be responsible for the civic integration of migrants who started the integration process before January 1, 2013 and will be provided with funding for this purpose into next year.

Source: Government.nl

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Carly Blair

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