Integration courses bogged down in bureaucracy

The government’s compulsory integration courses are completely bogged down in bureaucracy, according to Saturday’s Volkskrant.

The vocational education association (MBO) tells the paper that just 10% of people who are supposed to take the courses are actually doing so. MBO chairwoman Margo Vliegenhart describes the situation as a ‘disaster’ and says the new integration law introduced in January this year is a ‘monstrosity’.
The law was supposed to create a consumer market for the integration courses that immigrants are required to pass, but the bureaucracy has seen numbers stagnate. For example, if course participants find a job, their status within the system changes and they either have to stop taking the course or move to a different training provider.
The MBO’s research shows that at one training centre numbers of course participants dropped from 1,600 in 2006 under the old law, to just eight this year.
According to Vliegenhart, prospective candidates for the courses are also scared off by the €3,000 loan they need to take out to pay for the Dutch language and citizenship classes. The government refunds the money only if immigrants pass the integration course.
Meanwhile, integration minister Ella Vogelaar has admitted that the new legislation has created too much bureaucracy and will shortly send proposals for simplifying the law to parliament. She told public broadcaster NOS on Saturday that she wants to give local councils more freedom to choose who should take the integration courses.

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