Organisatie - 15 september 2015

First a refugee status, then possibly a study

Koen Guiking

Universities have already started evaluating if and how they can help refugees. This was said by Simon Vink, spokesman of board of directors, as a reaction on the petition ‘Give refugees the room and opportunity for a meaningful stay.’

Photo: UAF foundation helps refugees continue their studies

‘As long as people do not have an official status, it is difficult’ says Vink. ‘Of course, as soon as we can provide a meaningful contribution, we will do so.’ He gives the impression that the chances are now quite low. ‘The academic year has already started, so enrolment will only be possible in January. Additionally, only the master programmes are in English. And of course the pre-education of the refugee must be at a level that it is sensible to allow them to continue the education in the Netherlands.’

Vink emphasizes that currently people with a refugee status can often already study in the Netherlands. He reports that via the Foundation for Refugees (UAF) there are currently eight students studying at Wageningen University. He needed some time to figure that out, because ‘we do not register them as refugee.’ Vink: ‘In our system they are just students.’ Besides the eight UAF-students there could also be other refugees that are registered at the university, but the system has no insight into that.

Offering refugee scientists a job is not easy, says Vink. ‘It needs to be customized. There are lots of legal rules which play a role, but sometimes it is possible.’

See the petition 'Give refugees the room and opportunity for a meaningful stay'