The Dutch policy of forcing certain categories of immigrants to take special citizenship tests before coming to the Netherlands is discriminatory because it only applies to so-called ‘non-western’ newcomers, according to Human Rights Watch.
EU residents and people from industrialised countries like the US, Australia and Japan do not have to take the tests, the organisation says. But immigrants from countries like Turkey, Morocco and China have to pass the language and culture knowledge exam, which costs €350, before their arrival, even if they are coming to join family members.
‘It sends the message that certain groups are not welcome,’ said the organisation’s spokeswoman Holly Cartner. ‘And it risks alienating these communities instead of facilitating their integration.’
A government spokeswoman told AP news agency that the policy had been thoroughly debated in parliament before its introduction in 2006. ‘The law is not discriminatory,’ she said. ‘There are indeed exemptions for some countries but that is true of the whole of the immigration law.’
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