New language requirement making Dutch citizenship unattainable: Refugee organization
The government's new language requirements will make Dutch citizenship unattainable for between 50 thousand and 100 thousand refugees in the country, according to refugee organization Vlucthelingenwerk Nederland. The increased language requirement has a "discriminatory effect" that will result in a group of "second class citizens", the organization said to RTL Nieuws.
In the Netherlands, successful asylum seekers are given refugee status and a temporary residency permit, which is valid for five years as long as the situation in their country of origin remains unsafe. After that, the refugee can get a permanent residency permit and focus on their future in the Netherlands. In order to become a Dutch citizen, they must meet the integration requirements, among other things. This includes about three years of education in the Dutch language, culture and history, followed by exams.
The government now wants to increase the language requirement in the naturalization process, it said in the "Naturalization Test Decree". But according to Vluchtelingenwerk, this would mean that between 50 thousand and 100 thousand refugees will not be able to obtain their citizenship, even though they passed all the current integration requirements.
"What the cabinet wants to do now is to make the language requirement for naturalization higher than that for the integration requirement. The vast majority of integrated refugees therefore suddenly no longer meet the conditions for Dutch citizenship," a spokesperson for Vluchtelingenwerk said to RTL. "They took the exams at a different level. For them the rules of the game suddenly change now that they have already integrated."