Integration programme to become mandatory in Brussels Capital
An ordinance of the Joint Community Commission of Brussels - which was published in the Belgian Gazette today - establishes a mandatory integration programme for newcomers in Brussels.
The ordinance of 11 May 2017 of the Joint Community Commission of Brussels establishes a mandatory integration programme for newcomers in Brussels.
A Dutch speaking integration programme (under the responsability of the Flemish Community Commission) and a French speaking integration programme (under the responsability of the French Community Commission) already existed in Brussels, but they were not mandatory.
The ordinance indicates that newcomers in Brussels who are between 18 and 65 years old, who have not lived in Belgium for longer than 3 years, and who have a residence permit valid for longer than 3 months, will be required to follow an integration programme. Certain categories of foreign nationals are however exempted from this obligation.
The mandatory integration programme will consist of a social assessment, language courses and a civic integration course.
Sanctions are foreseen for the newcomers who would not meet the requirements of the mandatory integration programme.
Newcomers will still have to chose between a French-speaking or Dutch-speaking programme. The intention is not to set up a completely new system, but rather to further apply the existing integration programmes. The Brussels Government will therefore conclude a cooperation agreement with the French Community Commission (COCOF) and the Flemish Community Commission, with clear agreements on the functioning of the agencies which provide for the integration programmes.
The date of entry into effect of the ordinance still has to be determined.