New Civic Integration Act 2021
The civic integration system has changed. Municipalities now play an important role in helping newcomers who are required to complete the civic integration programme. The civic integration programme is not mandatory for everyone who is new to the Netherlands. This depends on someone’s current citizenship status and other factors.
The new Civic Integration Act 2021 came into force on 1 January 2022. It applies to everyone who first falls under the civic integration requirement on or after that date. Find out more about civic integration.
Aim: active participation in Dutch society
The aim of the Civic Integration Act 2021 is for people who are subject to mandatory civic integration to be able to start participating in Dutch society as soon as possible. This includes finding work. The main changes to the Act are as follows:
- Municipalities will provide integration assistance to newcomers who have to complete the civic integration programme. For asylees this assistance begins as soon as they are allocated to a municipality.
- The civic integration programme is tailored to the individual after a comprehensive intake process. It is based on a personal Civic Integration and Participation Plan, drafted by the municipality. The government bears the cost of civic integration for asylees.
- Municipalities also provide integration assistance to family migrants and other migrants. They have to pay for civic integration themselves. The municipality carries out a comprehensive intake which is used to determine the learning pathway. It can also advise on suitable educational institutions.
- Newcomers who fall under the civic integration requirement learn Dutch to a level that will enable them to build a life in the Netherlands and participate actively in Dutch society. Knowing Dutch also improves their chances on the labour market.
- The combination of language learning and taking part in Dutch society, for instance through work placements or volunteer work, plays a major role in the new civic integration system.
Three new learning pathways for civic integration
There are 3 new civic integration pathways:
- The B1 pathway for language learning and doing paid or unpaid work. Within 3 years, participants learn to speak and write in Dutch at level B1. They can also participate by doing paid and unpaid work.
- The educational pathway, primarily for young people, in which they learn Dutch to level B1 or higher. This prepares them for further education at secondary vocational (MBO), professional (HBO) or academic level.
- The empowerment pathway for individuals who are subject to mandatory civic integration but for whom the other 2 pathways are too difficult. They learn Dutch at a lower level (A1) and prepare for a basic level of participation in Dutch society.
Knowledge of Dutch Society (KNM) is a standard module in all the learning pathways.
Municipalities are responsible for offering asylees a comprehensive civic integration programme made up of:
- one of the 3 learning pathways
- the Labour Market & Participation (MAP) module, and
- the participation statement process (PVT).
The MAP and PVT are also open to family migrants and other migrants, but they must arrange and finance their learning pathway themselves.