Refugees who received residency to the Netherlands through a general pardon in 2007 are still having problems applying for Dutch citizenship, according to the National Ombudsman and Children's Ombudsman. This process must be simplified, they find, NOS reports.
There are many problems with the integration exam immigrants have to pass if they want to get their Dutch passport, language schools, teachers of Dutch as a second language ant the NT2 professional association said to newspaper Trouw. This results in many immigrants struggling to integrate into Dutch society, according to the language teachers.
"You can't say that integration failed", Jeroen Dijsselbloem, current Finance Minister and number three on the PvdA candidate list, said on radio program Dit is de Dag on Thursday.
According to Dijsselbloem, "a lot of things went well" when it comes to integration. "Go look in the lecture halls in big cities. They are now filled with children from an immigration background", he said.
He agrees that the naturalization process could go smoother. He thinks it should be more mandatory and that all the responsibility can not be left to the immigrants.
Since a law was passed in 2013 making integration the responsibility of immigrants themselves, only a third of immigrants passed the naturalization exam in time, according to a report by the Netherlands General Court of Audit. The exam is also taken at a lower level than before the law, NU.nl reports.
After years and years of performing live for the newly Dutch at their naturalization ceremony in Amsterdam's town hall, tenor Henk Kreukniet is being replaced by a video recording, AT5 reports.
According to Kreukniet, performing at the naturalization ceremonies was a weekly highlight for him. "Amazing, every time it was as if it was the first time. No routine, no weariness, every week we did it with pleasure", he said to the local broadcaster.
Last year the Netherlands granted Dutch citizenship to 22 thousand people. That is 5 thousand less than the year before, a decrease of 19 percent, according to figures from Statistics Netherlands.
Some 1,700 Turks nd 900 Moroccans were given Dutch citizenship, making up the largest group. Though the number of Turks and Moroccans given citizenship has been decreasing for a number of years, according to Statistics Netherlands. Other large groups included Soviet citizens and Iraqis, with about 900 each, and Chinese with 700.
The VVD wants to double the current naturalization period for immigrants. That means that an immigrant would have to live in the Netherlands for 10 years, instead of the current five, before being granted a Dutch passport, VVD parliamentarian Malik Azmani said in an interview with Dutch newspaper Trouw on Thursday.
Since the responsibility of naturalization and integration shifted from the municipality to newcomers in the Netherlands themselves in 2013, both the number of people taking the integration exam and the pass rate has declined.
On January 1st last year there were 1.3 million Dutch citizens with a dual nationality, an increase of 3 percent compared to 2013. A quarter of them are Dutch-Moroccan, a quarter are Dutch-Turkish and the other half have other nationalities.
In the last few years, there have been more than 500 reports of honor killing in the Netherlands. In 2013, the number even rose. These incidents take the form of abuse, rape, kidnapping or murder, and are all in the effort to avenge someone.