Dutch cities want to take back control of integration

Integration exam
Image from a video portraying students during the integration exam (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs). (Image from a video portraying students during the integration exam (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs))

Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, united under G4, want to take back control over the integration process. The four large Dutch cities believe that customization is needed for integration to go smoothly, and that is impossible while the process is in the control of the national government, ANP reports.

The cities are hereby responding to a recent report that showed that only a third of immigrants and refugees manage to pass their integration exams in within the three year time limit. In a statement the G4 say that it agrees with the reports findings and previously expressed concern about the low participation in integration courses. 

In 2013 a new Integration Act was implemented which made it the responsibility of the immigrant himself to take integration courses and pass the integration exam within three years. According to the municipalities, this law means that they have no sight on the process. "Municipalities can't encourage, speak to or support immigrants. Experience before 2013 shows that this is necessary." the statement reads. The G4 therefore wants a new system which the municipalities are back in charge.

Last year Minister Lodewijk Asscher of Social Affairs sent a letter to parliament stating that the pass rate of the integration exam increased from 32 percent in April 2016 to 49 percent in October of that year. However, he expressed concerns about the efficiency of the system. He advised that municipalities be given a more advisory role in which they provide immigrants with additional information and incentive to pass the integration exam in the time allowed and translate more documents relevant to them.