Scoring 57 on the MIPEX 100-point scale, immigrants in the Netherlands enjoy more opportunities than obstacles in their integration, under halfway favourable policies. Dutch integration policies score above the average EU country and similarly to Western European (EU15)/OECD countries.
The Netherlands’ approach to integration is classified by MIPEX as “Temporary Integration”, like France, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. The Netherlands has more developed policies than Austria, Denmark and Switzerland, which have a similar approach but go only halfway towards providing immigrants with equal opportunities.
Foreign citizens in the Netherlands can benefit from access to basic rights and halfway favourable policies on equal opportunities, but do not enjoy the long-term security to settle permanently, invest in integration and participate as full citizens. The Dutch “Temporary Integration” approach encourages the public to see immigrants as equals but as foreigners as well. Internationally, the ‘Top Ten’ MIPEX countries treat immigrants as equals, neighbours and potential citizens, and invest in integration as a two-way process for society.
A country’s integration policies matter because the way that governments treat immigrants strongly influences how well immigrants and the public interact with and think of each other. Drawing on 130 independent scientific studies using MIPEX, integration policies emerge as one of the strongest factors shaping not only the public’s willingness to accept and interact with immigrants, but also immigrants’ own attitudes, sense of belonging, participation and even health in their new home country.
- Labour market mobility: slightly favourable: Non-EU newcomers can work in all public and private sector jobs. Long-term residents and family migrants enjoy equal access to education, training and study grants. Most recently, a national programme was initiated aiming to promote labour market positioning of migrant youth. However, migrants in the Netherlands still face some obstacles when it comes to receiving targeted support.
- Family reunification: slightly unfavourable: Immigrants in the Netherlands continue to face obstacles in attempting to reunite with their families, due to slightly unfavourable policies that have persisted over the years. Families meeting the legal requirements are only slightly secure in their future in the country.
- Education: halfway favourable: Immigrants pupils can access compulsory and non-compulsory education in the Netherlands, regardless of legal status. Schools still receive basic funding and training to target immigrant pupils' specific learning needs though standards vary across schools and cities.
- Health: slightly favourable: Immigrants enjoy slightly inclusive healthcare entitlements but only average policies to help them access these entitlements, as well as to help mainstream providers become more responsive to their specific needs. Legal migrants and asylum-seekers receive basic information to entitlements through many means. However, relevant information may not reach all patients or staff, especially regarding entitlements for undocumented migrants. This may discourage access to entitlements in practice.
- Political participation: halfway favourable: Non-EU citizens in the Netherlands can vote and stand in local elections. With little to no support from consultive bodies, conditions for dialogue are unfavourable and immigrants have limited opportunities to inform and improve the policies that affect them most.
- Permanent residence: halfway favourable: Immigrants becoming long-term residents are halfway secure in their future in the Netherlands, with some difficulties that make the process strenuous. After 5 years, immigrants are allowed to apply for long-term residence. A path to long-term residence is denied for several categories of temporary residents, such as seasonal workers and those with medical permits, study/exchange permits and certain family permits.
- Access to nationality: halfway favourable: Immigrants wanting to become Dutch citizens face a relatively clear path to citizenship similar to most countries of immigration, but dual nationality is allowed as an exception, unlike in most other countries. The language and integration requirements may discourage immigrants from naturalising rather than encourage them to learn the language and the country's core civic values.
- Anti-discrimination: favourable: Everyone in the Netherlands is protected against ethnic, racial, religious and nationality discrimination in all areas of life except social protection, where gaps emerge in the Dutch law. Additionally, the mechanisms in place to enforce the law are some of the strongest among developed democracies.