D66 demands cash to quickly teach asylum seekers Dutch

Alexander Pechtold (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Pepijn Leupen - D66). (Alexander Pechtold (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Pepijn Leupen - D66))

The D66 is calling on the government to make 75 million euros available to quickly teach asylum seekers the Dutch language, party leader Alexander Pechtold said on the television program Buitenhof on Sunday, the Telegraaf reports.

Asylum seekers only start language lessons when the official asylum procedure begins. As things stand now, that takes an average of about nine months. Pechtold believes this is wasting valuable time. "Every day an asylum seeker sits on his hands in the Netherlands, is a day lost", he said.

The D66 leader therefore plans to once again propose organizing language classes from the first day an asylum seeker arrives in the Netherlands. He will submit this proposal during the debate on the Spring memorandum. According to him, another proposal is necessary because an earlier call, supported by the majority of parliament, had no result.

According to Pechtold, there is a very good chance that the majority of asylum seekers that arrived in the Netherlands last year will be allowed to stay. "Teach these people the language directly, so that they can make a good start on integrating into our society and can quickly start working." he said.

Pechtold added that starting language lessons sooner will save money in the end. A proper language course consts about a quarter of an annual welfare benefit. Investing in that now can ensure that fewer asylum seekers end up on welfare in the future, he said.