Immigrants should not be forced by law to learn Dutch unless their job requires it and compulsory integration courses should be replaced with lessons in democratic citizenship open to everyone, the social development council RMO said in a report on Tuesday.
The aim of the report, presented to immigration minister Gerd Leers, is to put immigrants in a more positive light by basing integration requirements on the principle of ‘yes except’ rather than ‘no unless’, the council says.
At the moment, immigrants are seen as a burden but the Netherlands should see the arrival of newcomers as a positive contribution to Dutch society, the report says.
‘The negative tone dominating the integration debate and the restrictive migration policy which stems from it are leading to an introverted culture which discourages the immigrants the Netherlands needs from coming here,’ the report states.
Instead immigration policy should be based on welcoming all immigrants who can contribute to the national interest, with selection based on the individual’s talents and expertise, the RMO says.
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