Dutch integration courses to remain free in Brussels but will cost €360 in Flanders
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    Dutch integration courses to remain free in Brussels but will cost €360 in Flanders

    The Flemish government wants to avoid that newcomers will all opt for the French-language integration courses. Credit: Belga

    The integration courses will stay free of charge in the Brussels region, as the Flemish government is afraid that all newcomers will opt for a (free) French integration course.

    The Flemish government wants to avoid that newcomers will all opt for the French-language integration courses now that the Dutch-language courses will cost a total of €360. Anyone living in Flanders will automatically follow the Dutch language courses, and anyone living in Wallonia will follow the French ones.

    In Brussels, however, newcomers can choose between the Dutch and the French-speaking integration process. Up until now, both were free, but the Flemish government is afraid all newcomers in the capital will opt for the French process once the Dutch courses will have to be paid for.

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    “We absolutely must avoid creating additional barriers to opting for a Dutch-language integration programme,” said Benjamin Dalle, the Flemish Minister for Brussels, to Bruzz. “It would put pressure on the position of the Dutch language in the region. Mastering Dutch is an absolute asset for newcomers to our capital and is often a direct ticket to a qualitative and sustainable job in Brussels or Flanders,” he added.

    The Flemish Minister for Integration Bart Somers confirmed that the Dutch integration courses will stay free in the Brussels region, reports De Standaard.

    “We want to avoid creating a situation that nobody wanted,” Somers said, reports Bruzz. “After all, we do not want to touch the Dutch-speaking character of the capital,” he added.

    Integration in Brussels will be mandatory starting from January 2020.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times