News - May 31, 2007

A bit more welcoming

The Dutch government has relaxed the rules for people from outside the European Union who look for work in the Netherlands after graduating. Students, businesses and universities have been complaining for years that the Netherlands is extremely inhospitable towards students and ‘knowledge workers’ from outside the EU. After the discussions on the integration of ethnic groups in the Netherlands, it seemed that the government regarded everyone from abroad as a potential terrorist, or at least likely to try to sponge off the Dutch taxpayers.

Many MSc and PhD students in Wageningen have also experienced the less hospitable side of the Netherlands in the form of the notorious bureaucracy of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service. Fortunately things are getting better there as well. The IND is going to simplify the application procedure for residence permits. The Service will set up a special office for students and PhD researchers, and promises that visa applicants will receive a decision within two weeks. The office opens in September for students who want to come to Wageningen.

In comparison with the surrounding countries, the Dutch legislation is still not efficient, but things are moving in the right direction. The strict regulations and bureaucratic red tape were ugly reminders of a narrow-minded country.