Immigrants in Netherlands must now pledge to uphold, support Dutch values

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))

On Tuesday the Dutch Senate voted in a legislative amendment which states that all immigrants to the Netherlands must sign a pledge to uphold and support Dutch values as part of their integration exam. This amendment to the Integration Law will take effect on October 1st, the Ministry of Social Affairs announced.

The pledge will be preceded by a course in which the immigrant is introduced and made familiar with the standards, values and rules of Dutch society. This course will be offered by the municipality the immigrant is joining. After the course all immigrants must sign a statement saying that he or she has taken note of the values and rules of Dutch society, promises to respect them and actively contribute to society.

From October 1st immigrants cannot complete their integration exam without signing the pledge, and therefore can not receive a permanent residency permit or Dutch citizenship. Immigrants who refuse to sign the pledge can also be fined up to 340 euros. 

The amendment was proposed by Minister Lodewijk Asscher of Social Affairs. "The statement of participation makes newcomers aware of the unalterable rights and duties and the fundamental values of Dutch society. For us, these rules are obvious, for newcomers often not. It is therefore important that we are very clear about this from the very first day." he said.

This pledge is specifically aimed at asylum seekers, and people who move to the Netherlands "in the context of family formation or family reunification", according to the Ministry.