Stricter Dutch rules for imported spouses

Oct. 6, 2009 at 1:39 PM
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THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Integration exams for brides and grooms "imported" into the Netherlands will be made stricter, officials said.

New measures designed to curtail the influx of imported marriage partners, presumed marriages of convenience between aunts, uncles and cousins, and marriage-migrants under the age of 18, were announced Friday by Ernst Hirsch Ballin, the Dutch justice minister, Radio Netherlands reported.

Dutch citizens or residents who want to bring in prospective spouses may also first have to take the integration exam, the news agency said.

"We want to prevent girls being brought to the Netherlands under duress, Ballin said."

Since 2008, the number of migrant marriages rose by 30 percent to 15,000, Radio Netherlands reported.

The targeted marriages are those in which foreign-origin Dutch residents bring into the country partners from their countries of ethnic origin, especially Morocco, Turkey, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq, the news agency said.

The new measures are intended to protect both Dutch society and the imported women, as they often are relegated to a position of dependency and subservience when they arrive in the Netherlands, Integration Minister Eberhard van der Laan said.

"Because of their lack of knowledge of the Dutch language, their low level of education and unfamiliarity with institutions, there is a risk that these women will not be adequately able to bring up their children to be proper citizens," Van der Laan said, adding this may cause children to become school dropouts or criminal.

Migrants will be required to have job training upon arrival in the Netherlands, the news agency said.

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