Government to get tough on welfare claimants who don’t speak Dutch

Local authorities are being told they have to take action against welfare claimants who don’t speak Dutch even though sanctions are only an option in the law, the Volkskrant reported on Thursday.

Junior social affairs minister Tamara van Ark now says that local authorities must enforce the language rule which requires claimants to take Dutch lessons or face having their benefits cut.

Research last year showed that while almost all local authority areas require claimants to learn Dutch, very few actually penalised those who did not. The language requirement came into effect at the beginning of last year.

A preliminary report on the success of the measure is due early next year and a major evaluation will be carried out in 2019.