Netherlands to give quick language lessons to promising asylum seekers

Asylum seekers who have a good chance of getting refugee status in the Netherlands, will from now on start language lessons almost immediately. Syrian- and Eritrean asylum seekers in particular will benefit from this new policy, PvdA Minister Lodewijk Asscher of Social Affairs announced, the Telegraaf reports.

Coalition partner VVD only wants to give asylum seekers language lessons once they've been given a residency permit. But civic organizations and many of the opposition parties pointed out that integration happens quicker and easier if the language classes start as soon as possible. 

Under the current policy, asylum seekers allowed to stay in the Netherlands only started Dutch lessons once they were transferred to an asylum center where Dutch is taught. But due the massive influx of asylum seekers in the Netherlands last year, the waiting time increased to more than a year in some cases. 

Asscher now arranged that asylum seekers staying in a center that does not teach Dutch, can go for lessons in nearby centers, according to the newspaper.