Integration must be better tailored to newcomers. That is one of researcher Nikki Scholten’s recommendations, presented to the National Ombudsman, in an effort to improve integration policy in the Netherlands.
Scholten compiled the report ‘Civic Integration as a Key Pillar in Societal Resilience for Newcomers’, together with researchers Sennay Ghebreab and Tamar de Waal. The researchers report on the current integration policy in the Netherlands and the state of academic research into alternative integration strategies. Under the watchful eye of international academics, she presented the report along with a series of recommendations to the National Ombudsman, Reinier van Zutphen. “This report emphasizes how important it is that we know and tell the stories of newcomers. It is not just about passing an integration course or about learning the language. It is particularly important that newcomers are given the feeling that they belong”, Van Zutphen commented.
The report discloses that a large part of the problem derives from lack of insight into what works in the current integration policy. “It is impossible to identify best practices because there is insufficient research on the subject,” says Scholten. “The effectiveness of different integration strategies has not been structurally mapped out across different contexts. The research that does exist shows that the policy must be far more attuned to the personal circumstances, characteristics and ambitions of individual newcomers.”
Scholten, Ghebreab and De Waal’s research is funded by the Institute of Societal Resilience and carried out in collaboration with the Civic Foundation (Stichting Civic). The report will be made available soon through the foundation’s website. As an organization, Civic aims to alert policy makers in the Netherlands and Europe to proven successful integration strategies.