The Equality Challenge
Edited by Sonia Morano-Foadi and Micaela Malena
Chapter 16: The Dutch Act on Integration Abroad: a case of racial or ethnic discrimination?
Integration tests and programmes have become a prominent feature in the landscape of immigration and citizenship laws in several EU Member States over the past years. The reasons for the emergence of these tests, their contents and effects are analysed in a growing body of literature. On a conceptual level, many authors have criticised the exclusionary character of integration tests as conditions for admission or the acquisition of nationality, the underlying assumption of a static and homogeneous community into which immigrants must integrate and the failure to see integration as a two-sided process. Some of these critiques have questioned the compatibility of integration tests with liberal political systems. Others have addressed the legality of integration conditions and obligations, primarily in relation to the EU directives on migration. A question that has received some attention, but deserves to be examined in more detail, concerns the effects of integration tests on immigrant equality and their compatibility with the legal prohibition of discrimination. At issue here is not so much the content of integration tests or that they function as admission requirements, but the fact that certain groups of immigrants must pass the tests whereas others are exempt from that obligation.
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