Illustratie: The Lazy Artist

Minister: recruitment agencies for internationals are undesirable


Minister Van Engelshoven is unhappy with the practice of luring international students as done by foreign recruitment agencies. She doesn’t understand why institutions are working with these organisations when there are already so many internationals studying in the Netherlands.

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Universities and universities of applied sciences are said (in Dutch, ed.) to more and more often use foreign recruitment agencies that – for a price – try to entice international students to go to the Netherlands for their studies. It’s as yet unclear whether all internationals are at the desired level of proficiency when they come here. The recruitment agencies are said to offer expensive bridging programmes to ensure underqualified students are also accepted.

The minister is unhappy about these recruitment agencies, according to her response to written questions sent in by political party SP. After all, there’s already a rather high percentage of foreign students studying in the Netherlands, and their share is on the rise at universities of applied sciences, and even more at universities, every year. On top of that, higher education institutions had in fact agreed to manage the inflow of internationals better, Van Engelshoven states.

Still, autonomy remains of great value to the minister. Institutions themselves are responsible for the registration of students, even if they were recruited via agencies, she says. Institutions have to decide for themselves whether the bridging programmes on offer are affordable enough and of sufficient quality. The inspection can only act if there are signs that indicate students of insufficient level are accepted into universities.

The minister remains welcoming of internationalisation. She says it’s good for the quality of the education and for the Dutch economy, which is begging for highly-educated employees. However, she emphasised earlier, internationalisation can never be a goal in itself.

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