Integration course for newcomers to change as from 2022: "More duties, but people will get something in return"

The integration scheme for newcomers in Belgium will change as from 2022: each person will enjoy a more personalised approach. This will include more demands and it will no longer be free of charge, "but in return they will get a more intensive and tailor-made course", the Flemish minister responsible for social cohesion Bart Somers says. 

Newcomers will first have to sign a document about our country's basic values and the rights and duties. While in the past newcomers had to engage in making an effort, they will now have to pass a test in order to get their integration certificate. "At the start of the integration course you will sign a contract and at the end you will have to pass a citizenship test", Bart Somers explains. 

This so-called citizenship test ('burgerschapstest') will consist of four parts: a basic knowledge of Dutch, a good understanding of the Flemish society, economic self-sustainability and an internship (possibly with a buddy) with the municipality, a company or an organisation. The first two parts already existed, the last two are new. 

Each newcomer will automatically be registered in the database of the Flemish vocational training and employment service VDAB. "This is to stimulate access to the labour market", the Flemish Employment minister Hilde Crevits says. 

The first two courses (Dutch and social orientation) will cost 90 euros each, instead of being free of charge. "We are upping our standards but in return newcomers can count on more intensive and tailormade counselling", Bart Somers underlines. 

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