Refugees should have a job as part of their integration, thinks Social Affairs Minister
Social Affairs and Employment Minister Karien van Gennip is investigating the possibility to put refugees with residency rights to work right after they receive housing. Only then would they have to take additional coursework to learn the Dutch language. The proposal on this subject originated from VVD MP Thierry Aartsen, and the CDA minister signaled her support on Monday.
"Work is simply a fantastic way to participate in society," said Aartsen. “You learn Dutch fastest in the company canteen." According to the VVD parliamentarian, a starting job should be emphasized above subsidy and welfare payments, and work should be immediately offered to refugees once they come to live in a municipality. This would essentially provide "an entrance to the labor market so that they can also participate immediately in society." Aartsen said this is also a way to tackle the staff shortages in many sectors.
The VVD proposal has the support of GroenLinks and D66. However, both parties also have caveats. For example, GroenLinks party member Senna Maatoug believes that in some cases participation works better if refugees can also work with social assistance.
D66 member Anne-Marijke Podt thinks it is important that newcomers also be given the opportunity to find a job that matches their educational level and achievements before they arrived in the Netherlands. According to her, refugee status holders should also be given the opportunity to continue their studies "so that they can enter the sectors that we desperately need."
Minister Van Gennip is prepared to discuss these starter jobs with municipalities. According to her, it has turned out that the current policy of the Cabinet is not working. It states that refugee status holders must learn the Dutch language in tandem with work. That is why she is prepared to "try everything to get status holders to work."
Reporting by ANP