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Brussels considers mandatory integration courses

11:04 15/03/2017

The Brussels parliament today discusses the majority proposal to organise compulsory integration courses for newcomers, writes De Standaard. Flanders made the courses compulsory 13 years ago. Wallonia recently developed its own integration courses, and now the Brussels-Capital Region may follow suit, with its own integration programme for newcomers.

The initiative is a complicated one, as Brussels has the highest number of newcomers in the country. According to research, some 30,000 foreigners live in the capital who have been in Belgium for less than three years. But until recently there was no political will to standardize their integration.

That may change, as the Brussels parliament today discusses the majority proposal to require newcomers to integrate. The courses aim to introduce foreigners to the prevailing norms and values in Belgian society. Newcomers to Brussels would have to choose between the existing Dutch- or French-language integration courses on offer.

Groen MP Arnaud Verstraete proposes instead that Brussels create its own integration programme, with special attention to language, a crucial tool in the Brussels job market.

Written by Robyn Boyle


Marc Slonik

So the assumption here is that all the newcomers speak either Dutch or French already at their arrival. I'm not so sure about that. And it is quite likely that those who do not speak any of the languages face even greater integration problems.

Mar 15, 2017 13:03

Good Morning Belgium, and good luck for integration plan.

1st of all. Why you will follow this courses? For 1200-1600 Net salary / month? Just do a short calculation 2 parents earn the same salary (minimal official salary in Belgium) 2X1200 Eur = 2400 Eur

With this salary you will pay out:
- 1200 EUR. Close to 1200 Eur rental fee all fees included,
- 150 EUR . Cell phones 150 EUR / month for 2 persons
- 650 EUR . 2 cars (in the best case) 150 Eur / month insurance, 500 car loan
- 800 EUR , food costs 200 Eur / week,
- 350 Eur ,Social contribution / month in case he is self employed
- 100 Eur , Bookkeeper in case when one of the 2 parents are Self Employed
- 400 metro tickets, health insurance % health care, (maybe garden costs),
building basic maintenance, dental family fees, cloths, titre cleaning service, etc... arrive to 400 EUR / month.
3650 EUR total cost.

How much remaining at the end of the month 2400-3650=-1250 EUR. Sadly in case you ask any of them if they did a calculation about their daily living cost they will answer, NO. For this reason many self employed just work for any price just to be able to pay his living costs and taxes.

Good luck for those who try to live with this income. And they try to integrate in several years in French or Dutch society trough language courses. The winners are the French speaker foreigners and emigrants since they are more and they learn the language without any problem since is an easier language and you have to adopt asap, to live and earn money. You will not progress with your integration, when you follow a Dutch course evening and during the day you don`t hear any Dutch word, so "Voilà".

The emigrants why try to settle down, and try to integrate in Belgian society, they have top accomplish the following rules or demands:
- Language integration
- Studies for employment in case they won`t work in cleaning business.
- Social Contribution,
- No unemployed status during 5 years, because that means you can not integrate.
- first 5 years you have to prove that you worked permanently without interruption.
- Be a "Good" citizen, approved by Police, so no any fail against the law.

Also they have to know that in case they will move in a Dutch side (and they are French speakers) they have to prove that they speak Dutch otherwise they will not receive their Belgian Nationality in Dutch side. In Bruxelles this is not an issue.

In case you come here and start a life without master and bachelor degree you will not spend your time with 4-5 years of language studies for this wage, I`m sure.
You can`t find any Job trough general INTERIM services in Bruxelles since you don`t speak both languages. Just go and try and they ask both languages, so it`s so crazy that in case you speak 1 language you can`t apply for a job. You will be hired in area where is requested just 1 language. like 25-50 km from Bruxelles.
In case you speak Dutch then you have to prove that you speak at a good level, so even then you have a big chance to be sorted out.

Mar 16, 2017 11:05

The information in not up to date. The integration courses in Bxl are available in many languages: On top of NL and FR, there is also English, Hindu, Spanish, just to name a few. In addition, if you use public transport during this period, they will reimburse most of your monthly STIB subscription. I also know of people enrolled in this course in Antwerp and they also take this course in English.

As for the comment made by FERNOM.OFFICE, I don't understand the point you are trying to make? Many of the arguments are based on very general assumptions and your calculations for monthly expenses is way off. My partner and I do not pay anywhere near as much for the items you have listed... yes, even living in Bxl!

Jan 4, 2018 15:29