A plan to make new migrants sign a declaration promising to observe Dutch customs and values has been widely denounced as 'worthless'.

Deputy prime minister and newly appointed Labour party (PvdA) leader Lodewijk Asscher said the document would make immigrants more aware of their social responsibilities. Under Asscher's plan new arrivals from outside the European Union would be required to sign within a year of registering with a municipality or risk a fine of €340.

But critics told De Volkskrant the pledge was effectively worthless if migrants signed merely in order to avoid a penalty. They also questioned if a year was long enough for people arriving in the country, sometimes with no Dutch language skills, to understand what they were consenting to.

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