Dutch cities to get €700 million for asylum seeker education, care

Refugees at the Lebanon-Syria border (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/H. Murdock)Child asylum seekers (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/H. Murdock)

The Dutch government is giving municipalities 700 million euros extra this year and next year for asylum seeker integration. The money is intended to be used for education, language lessons and care for asylum seekers, NOS reports based on anonymous sources.

According to the broadcaster, the Association of Dutch Municipalities and the government are signing the agreements reached on the asylum policy this afternoon. The extra money for education, care and integration forms part of these agreements.

The goal is to have refugees integrated into society as soon as possible. This means helping them enter the labor market as soon as they have their residency permit. Children are to be sent to school as soon as possible, even if their parents' asylum procedure is still in progress.

The agreements also involve the municipalities providing more homes for refugees. Municipalities who do their best in this will be rewarded. But those who do not meet their target will not be penalized.

Early this month Amsterdam launched a program that helps asylum seekers start their own businesses, whether or not they have a residency permit yet. Utrecht also has plans to have asylum seekers start integrating into the city from the moment they arrive. This involves having them share housing with young Utrecht residents and providing education on topics such as entrepreneurship.