Dutch colleges apply stricter enrollment requirements against student visa abuse
Dutch universities of applied sciences will apply stricter enrollment requirements for students from outside the European Union to fight the abuse of student visas, NRC reports. According to the newspaper, the universities have “strong indications” that international students enroll to get a student visa, then disappear from their studies to live in the Netherlands undocumented.
Several universities of applied sciences told NRC that they struggle with these “disappearing students.” The Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) is investigating because it suspects students are dropping out early to live undocumented in the Netherlands. It also examines how higher education institutions can “assess whether a student meets the conditions under immigration law.”
The Association of Universities of Applied Sciences suspects that people smugglers are involved, and they shop between different institutions. “It seems like they are looking for weaknesses in the system. Then one school receives 50 almost identical registrations from a certain country. The next time, they try a different program,” a spokesperson said to NRC.
The association is working on a guideline for the universities of applied sciences affiliated with it, consisting of extra checks and measures to prevent abuse of student visas. For example, students from non-EU countries could be required to transfer the full tuition fee before the academic year, prove that they can afford to stay in the Netherlands, or convince the institutions of their study plans via digital intake interviews.
The universities are working closely with the Ministry of Education on this to prevent discrimination and keep their institutions accessible.