Published On: Wed, Jun 29th, 2016

Double language test for naturalization remains

Dutch ParliamentTHE HAGUE, WILLEMSTAD - The Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, on Tuesday, approved a change to the Kingdom Law Dutch Nationality to extend the terms to issue the Dutch nationality. The amendments to eliminate the double-language test in the Dutch Caribbean and to exempt the residency by investment policy on the islands were voted down.

Three weeks ago, special delegates of the Parliaments of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten submitted and defended an amendment to eliminate the double-language test as part of the naturalisation procedure during the handling of the proposal to adapt the Kingdom Law Dutch Nationality (“Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap”) in the Second Chamber.

Member of the Aruba Parliament Andin Bikker of the PDR party submitted the motion, which was co-signed by colleagues Rene Herdé and Desiree de Sousa-Croes (both AVP Aruba), Ady Thijsen (MEP Aruba), Glenn Sulvaran (independent Curaçao) and Cornelius de Weever and Leona Marlin-Romeo (both independent St. Maarten).

The amendment sought to eliminate the double-language test that was introduced in January 2011, as part of the naturalisation process for foreigners who want to obtain Dutch citizenship. The islands want to return to the old situation where the test was allowed in one language, where participants could also choose Papiamentu or English.

However, there was no majority support for Bikker’s amendment in the Second Chamber. This means that the double-language test, which the Dutch Caribbean countries deem unfair, disproportionate and unnecessary, will remain in effect.

Dutch State Secretary of Security and Justice Klaas Dijkhoff had advised against the amendment, stating that it was important to stick to the command of the Dutch language, the collective language of the Kingdom, as the prerequisite for naturalisation in the Dutch Caribbean.

There was also no majority support for the Residency by Investment amendment submitted by Bikker, and co-signed by the special Dutch Caribbean delegates. The amendment sought to create an exemption in the adapted Kingdom Law for the current policies in the Dutch Caribbean for investors and wealthy pensioners who can obtain a residency permit through investment, and request the Dutch nationality after five years.

The change to the Kingdom Law Dutch Nationality mainly affects the Netherlands where the term for naturalisation will be extended from the current five to seven years. The Dutch Caribbean countries already have a system in place whereby a person must live on the island for 10 years to qualify for an indefinite residency permit, at which time the person can also apply for the procedure to acquire the Dutch nationality.

The majority of the amendments submitted by opposition parties Democratic Party D66, the Socialist Party (SP), the green left party GroenLinks, ChristianUnion, the Party for Freedom PVV, the Christian reformed SGP party and the Group Kuzu/Öztürk were also rejected.

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