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.