The ruling VVD party wants to introduce tougher rules for new immigrants which would require them to speak Dutch and have a paid or unpaid job before they are considered to have passed their integration exams.
In addition, the party wants to stretch the residency requirement to become Dutch to 10 years. MPs have already voted in favour of a seven-year residency rule but that still has to be approved by the senate.
RTL broadcaster quotes VVD MP Malik Azmani as saying that Dutch nationality ‘must be earned’. The party, therefore, wants a tougher integration test, including a basic exam prior to entering the Netherlands.
This will not apply to asylum seekers, but they must ‘get to know Dutch core values straight away’, while people who refuse to start on the exams face losing their residency, benefits or citizenship.
The inburgering process will only be completed if entrants have a job or are volunteering and people who commit a crime in their first five years could lose their Dutch nationality, reports RTL.
The new VVD policy represents a hardening of opinion towards immigrants in the Netherlands from all parties, after a spike in refugee numbers in 2015.
The PVV extreme-right party, currently just leading in the polls, wants to withdraw temporary asylum residence permits and close the borders. Labour PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher has called for EU labour migration limits.
Meanwhile last month, prime minister Mark Rutte wrote a letter calling for people – understood to be primarily immigrants – to ‘behave or be gone’ (‘doe normaal of ga weg’).