System of integration courses to be simplified

The new integration legislation introduced at the beginning of this year will be simplified and local councils will once again be able to offer Dutch language and culture courses directly to all immigrants from November 1, reports today’s Volkskrant.

The announcement came in a letter to MPs from integration minister Ella Vogelaar and brings forward a decision she had already taken because of the ‘chaos’ that has resulted from the new regulations, the paper says.
Under the new law only imams, the unemployed and women who had already started an integration programme are eligible for free courses and had themselves to find a suitable programme.
But from November everyone who has to take the compulsory courses – the government estimates this to be 60,000 a year – will be offered financing (around €3,000) and a suitable programme by the local council.
Vogelaar’s plan had been to create a consumer market for the integration courses with regional adult education centres (ROCs) and private institutions competing for clients. But instead, registrations for new programmes were just 10% of the expected level, the paper said.
And on Monday the IB Group, which is responsible for lending immigrants the money to pay for the courses said it had granted just 330 loans this year and refused 127.

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