Only one exception to assimilation test since 2006

The government should be more generous in making exceptions to the law on compulsory integration tests, having turned down 450 requests in 2010 alone, the national ombudsman is quoted as saying.

The tests, which include knowledge of Dutch history and culture plus the language, were introduced in 2006 for most would-be immigrants, mainly from non-western countries.
But since then just one person, a sick, illiterate Pakistani woman with eight children, has been allowed to come to the Netherlands without passing the test, ombudsman Alex Brenninkmeijer says in a new report.
The report includes a number of examples where no exception has been made, even though the circumstances people were living in made it impossible to either study or pay for the courses.
The ombudsman says the fragmented way requests are assessed and the fear of setting a precedent is probably behind the immigration service’s refusal to grant exceptions.

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