Learn Dutch or lose your benefits, The Hague city council says
Friday 02 September 2011
The Hague city council has told some 800 people with an ethnic minority background they need to learn Dutch and take a civic integration course or their welfare benefits will be stopped, the Telegraaf reports on Friday.
The measure is primarily aimed at 'helping them to participate in the labour market,' a spokeswoman for council integration chief Marnix Norder told the paper. 'These sort of disadvantages are an enormous obstacle to getting a job,' the spokeswoman said.
Council officials have drawn up a shortlist of 3,000 people who don't speak Dutch well enough to get a job. So far 800 have been interviewed and given the ultimatum. The rest will be called in for a meeting soon, the paper says.
Last year Norder, who is a Labour party member, hit the headlines for saying The Hague needed help to cope with a tsunami of Eastern Europeans who had come to live in the city.