Want to become Dutch? You’ll have to live here for seven years

Junior justice minister Fred Teeven has published details of the cabinet’s plan to increase the residency requirement to become Dutch from five to seven years.

The plan, which was included in the coalition agreement, was backed by ministers at Friday’s cabinet meeting. Ministers feel foreigners must have lived in the Netherlands ‘for a substantial period’ before they can become Dutch, the government statement said.

‘Research shows that the chance of finding paid work and following an educational programme increases the longer someone lives in the Netherlands,’ the statement said.

‘Often it appears that foreigners – even once they have fulfilled their integration duties – still do not fully partipate in society.’


As well as a residency requirement, people have to complete a formal integration course and prove they are not a threat to public order in order to become Dutch.

The two-year increase in the nationalisation residency requirement still has to be approved by parliament. The government also plans to increase the residency requirement to vote in local elections from five to seven years.

The plans were published a day after social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher went public with details of his proposals to ask most new arrivals in the Netherlands to sign a participation declaration.

The statement requires people to say they will uphold Dutch values and participate fully in Dutch society.

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