Reduced fee for civic integration examination abroad

The fee for the examination taken by migrants travelling to the Netherlands to marry or be reunited with family is being reduced from €350 to €150. From now on the self-study package for this examination will also be made available free of charge online and greater account will be taken of exceptional individual circumstances that prevent migrants from passing the exam. Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Lodewijk Asscher announced this today in a letter to the House of Representatives.

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Migrants who wish to come to the Netherlands to marry or be reunited with family first need to take a civic integration examination at the Dutch embassy in their country of origin. Passing this exam is one of the conditions for a temporary residence permit for the Netherlands. The migrants themselves pay the exam fee. On 9 July 2015 the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that the Netherlands may require migrants coming to the Netherlands to marry or be reunited with family to sit a test in their country of origin on the Dutch language and knowledge of Dutch society. The Court did, however, find that the Netherlands did not take sufficient account of individual circumstances, and that the exam fee was too high. The changes announced by Mr Asscher today are being introduced in response to this judgment.

The relevant legislation will be amended by 1 July 2016 at the latest, though the new policy will take immediate effect. Mr Asscher is also working on a compensatory agreement for migrants who sat the examination after the Court’s ruling. The agreement should be published in early 2016.