Afghan, Iranian children lead the pack, says study of 1990s refugee wave

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Children among the 96,000 refugees who came to the Netherlands from Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s are well integrated into Dutch society, according to a justice ministry report.

The report shows that the children are doing well at school and outperforming the children of labour migrants, but are still not doing as well as the native Dutch. This applies at both primary and secondary school levels, the report said.

‘Students from Iran and Afghanistan perform at almost the same level as native students, while students from sub Sahara (particularly Somalia) perform less well,’ the report said.

Unemployment and social isolation, however, remain major problems for older refugees. ‘These two factors can cause marginalisation of a significant part of the refugee population in the Netherlands,’ the report said. ‘Preventing this is both in the interest of the refugees themselves and Dutch society at large.’