An MP from the ruling VVD wants to double the residency period to qualify for a Dutch passport from five to 10 years. MP Malik Azmani says in an interview with Trouw: ‘A passport should not be taken as read. You should want to be one of us.’
Currently, foreigners can apply for Dutch nationality after five years, although legislation is currently moving through parliament which will increase that to seven.
Dutch nationality, Azmani said, should be seen as the main prize and something which new arrivals should work towards, step by step. ‘You have to grow into society and fight your way in,’ he said. ‘That is when you build up rights. You have to first show that you have something to offer rather than just hold out your hand.’
The senate will look at the proposal to extend the residency term to seven years after the summer but this, says Azmani, is still too short to really get to grips with Dutch society.
The MP, who is known for his tough line on immigration, also criticized a recent ruling by the Dutch human rights council which said it is discriminatory to refuse to give someone a job if they decline to shake hands during an interview.
‘Ridiculous,’ said Azmani. ‘What planet do they live on? I don’t think this gels with what we would consider normal behaviour in the Netherlands.’
The council statement followed a complaint by a 23-year-old Muslim woman who refused to shake hands when she applied for a job at the refugee settlement agency. The COA refused to give her a job, saying her position did not meet with the neutral approach expected of a COA staffer.
Azmani was born in the Netherlands and his father was a Moroccan immigrant who came to the Netherlands to work.
Some 25,000 people applied for Dutch nationality last year.
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