Unless they ask for asylum or a student visa

International students who fled Ukraine must leave the country in five weeks

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When war broke out in Ukraine in 2022, foreigners also fled the country. The State Secretary for Asylum and Migration, Eric van der Burg, decided last year that these so-called "third-country nationals" can now return safely to their countries of origin. The Council of State agreed with him last week.

This means that as of March 4, many third-country nationals will not be able to complete their studies in the Netherlands as they will lose not only their right to accommodation, living allowance and healthcare but also the right to work and study.

Making ends meet
They will only be allowed to stay in the Netherlands if they apply for asylum or a student visa. However, it’s not easy to get such a visa. First, an educational institution must apply for it on behalf of the student. Then, the student has to prove that they have enough money to support themselves in the Netherlands (the income requirement is around 1,200 euros a month) and pay the institutional tuition fees (which cost between 8,000 and 16,000 euros a year).

It is not known how many third-country nationals are studying in the Netherlands at the moment. Last Wednesday, State Secretary Van der Burg indicated that 2,760 third-country nationals are still in the country. The Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) does not keep track of how many of them are studying at higher education institutions. A spokesperson for the IND disclosed that 700 third-country nationals have applied for asylum, but only a few dozen of them have applied for a student visa.

Protected status
There were around 76,000 international students in Ukraine in 2022, of whom half were from Africa and India. The students who fled to the Netherlands before July 19 2022 were given the same protected status as Ukrainians.

It isn't known whether universities intend to apply for student visas on behalf of these students. Last year, some educational institutions lowered institutional tuition fees for students from Ukraine. The Ministry of Education refused to foot the bill.