Municipalities struggling to find work for refugees

Afghanistan construction center graduates third class
Graduates of the Konar Construction Center stand in a presenting line to greet Konar's governor and USAID officials.Picture: Wikimedia Commons/DVIDSHUB

Dutch municipalities are worried that 90 percent of refugees given residency permits in the past years will not be able to find work, according to a survey by Kennisplatform Integratie & Sameleving, the Volkskrant reports.

The survey was done among 197 municipalities. The municipalities estimate that 10 percent of the current refugees will be immediately employable. And that about a third will never by suitable for paid work.

According to 89 percent of municipalities, the biggest obstacle for a refugee to find a job is proficiency in the Dutch language. The integration exam requires newcomers to the Netherlands to know enough Dutch to get by in stores or when seeing a doctor, but usually not enough for the average employer.

Another problem the municipalities see is the long time refugees spend inactive in the asylum centers, first during the asylum procedure and then waiting for a home. 52 percent of the municipalities feel this time should be used better, for example with language lessons.

Currently asylum seekers only start language lessons when their asylum procedure begins, and that could be months after they arrived in the Netherlands. The D66 also recently renewed their call for quick language lessons for asylum seekers.