Utrecht city council is to cut social security benefits paid to Dutch nationals who have not gone through a formal integration course and don’t speak enough Dutch, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.
Council officials have written to 1,300 people claiming basic welfare benefits warning them they face a cut in income unless they improve their Dutch and other knowledge of the Netherlands. Integration courses are only compulsory for non-EU citizens.
A spokesman for integration minister Eberhard van der Laan said the measure was legally possible because it was being applied to people who were not doing enough to improve their chances of getting a job.
Several weeks ago it emerged that most of the country’s big cities were failing to meet government targets on integration courses.
Of the 24,000 people in Utrecht said not to speak Dutch well enough to work, 17,000 cannot be forced to take a course. Two thirds of them are women, many of whom are illiterate and have never been to school, the paper says.
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