Amsterdam city council agreed on Wednesday night to offer work experience placements to youngsters without residency permits, putting it on a collision course with social affairs minister Henk Kamp.
Children who are in the country illegally are allowed to attend school but the law does not allow them to undertake work experience because they have no work or residence permit. This often prevents them from completing their education.
‘It’s very strange to say they can go to school but not have work experience,’ council leader Lodewijk Asscher told a press conference following the decision. ‘With out work experience, you don’t get your diploma.’
Minister Kamp has warned that educational establishments and employers who give work experience to youngsters will be fined €8,000. Next year, the fine rises to €12,000.
The council says it is prepared to pay the fine using money available from the Start Foundation, a source of finance for projects that help the underprivileged to find work.
The children’s ombudsman supports the decision, reports the Volkskrant. Last year the Council of Europe declared ‘work experience is part of education and must be included’.