More than 500 people fined for failing integration tests

More than 500 immigrants and refugees have been reported to have been fined for not passing integration tests within the stipulated three years of their arrival.

The integration rule for those who fail to pass the tests can be a fine of up to €1,250. The tests include knowledge of the Dutch society and Dutch language among others.

In a monitored interview on Radio 1, Dorine Manson, the director of refugee organisation Vluchtelingenwerk said everyone that failed the tests should not be blamed. According to her, some of them have to wait three months before they can take a test and then another month for the results, pushing them over the three-year limit.

She added that there is a lack of adequate information about the available options and the ones available are in Dutch, making it difficult for refugees to understand.

Previously, local councils organise the integration classes for successful asylum seekers with the window of three and half years within which to pass the tests. However, beginning from 2013, refugees must arrange their own integration programme with the possibility of borrowing up to €10,000 towards the lessons. Anyone that passes the tests within three years does not have to pack back the loan.

Since the newly adopted system, only 39% of refugees have managed to pass the required tests.