The Netherlands’ obsession with making new and old arrivals from ‘non-western’ countries go through a compulsory integration process is starting to come unstuck.
Yesterday integration minister Ella Vogelaar was forced to say she would help make up the €38m budget shortfall which companies running the courses say they were left with last year.
The reason? The whole integration process is so complicated that far fewer people have come forward to take courses in how to become a good immigrant than were expected to do so. And so companies which set themselves up to cash in on this new growth market are not making the returns they had hoped.
So why is the take-up rate so low? For a start, it seems the whole organisation is complicated in the extreme.
On expat forums, there are endless complaints from people who are being sent from pillar to post trying to find out exactly what they are supposed to do. This is partly due to all the exceptions: people from the EU, people from the EEA, people here under the skilled migrants scheme…
This is not helped by the fact that government’s official inburgering website is only in Dutch. As is the website of the IB group which runs the inburgering exams. Hardly surprising that no-one is taking them then.
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