Netherlands - Dual Nationality Opposed by Government
29 January 2004
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One of the majority parties in coalition, the Christian Democrats, have recently proposed taking away the rights of immigrants to hold two passports, citing the claim that this simply hinders the integration process.
The new proposal would force any immigrant taking up Dutch citizen to give up their former citizenship, including handing in their old passport to the government authorities.
An MP of this party has claimed that holding two passports does not allow immigrants to fully integrate into Dutch society and stated that "you are not a real, complete Dutch person" if you have another passport. The same MP also stated that immigrants tend to abuse the current dual-nationality system by taking advantage of the social benefits of both the Netherlands and their country of origin.
Currently approximately 65 percent of new immigrants have dual nationality and in 1998, the government determined to reduce that number. But the scheme has never been reviewed since them and members of the government claim that the scheme has failed due to the high number of immigrants holding dual citizenship.
As known, immigration is at present a hot topic on the Dutch social agenda, with the government deliberately and successfully reducing the number of asylum seeker applications over the pass several years. Worries about ethnic crime rates that often feature immigrants participating in violent crimes has created a community backlash against certain immigrant groups.
Integration aims are trying to be achieved through mandatory Dutch language and culture lessons for new immigrants, but many speculate that more needs to be done to ease tensions between titular nationals and immigrants, whatever their nationality.