House of Representatives urges bill on internationalisation

House of Representatives urges bill on internationalisation

Omtzigt and Hermans wish to curb the right to student financing for EER students

26-09-2023 · News

THE NETHERLANDS. In spite of difficult discussions in government on migration, Minister of Education Robbert Dijkgraaf has continued work on his bill on internationalisation. A smart move, according to outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

On the second day of the National Budget Review, last week, Prime Minister Rutte responded to all questions and comments from the House of Representatives. Migration was heavily debated once again. Unsurprisingly so, as it’s the topic that led to the fall of the four-party coalition government.

Discussions in the House centred on asylum seekers and migrant workers, but study-related migration was also covered. Rutte pointed out that the minister of Education has prepared a bill on the topic.

Limiting intake where necessary

“It includes measures relating to enrolment restrictions, language of tuition, Dutch language skills and allocation of control”, Rutte said. “In the short term we want to make administrative arrangements with the institutions in the spirit of this law, so on limiting intake where necessary.”

In response to questions by Pieter Omtzigt, he indicated the government isn’t planning any new policy on labour migration. As there is currently no deal on labour and asylum migration, policymakers can’t continue working on the topic.

“Everything is interlinked”, Rutte said, adding that “Robbert Dijkgraaf, minister of Education, Culture and Science, has been smart as he’s continued with his plans for study-related migration, with full support from the council of ministers.” Study-related migration “could possibly be viewed as separate” from other migration, Rutte indicated.


His own party, VVD, believed there were possibilities beyond what Rutte said. Party Leader Sophie Hermans filed a motion together with Omtzigt, suggesting that the government should already commit to stricter control of Europe’s external borders and that the Netherlands − specifically the Dutch Labour Authority − should place more stringent demands on migrant workers. Omtzigt and Hermans also want Dijkgraaf’s bill ‘Internationalisering in Balans’ (Internationalisation in Equilibrium) to be sent to the House of Representatives before the year is up.

Finally, they wish to curb the right to student financing for EER students. In their motion, they advocate a ‘waiting period’ for the awarding of a student grant, as well as rules prohibiting simultaneous application for student financing in two countries.

Leader of the CDA party Henri Bontenbal said he was surprised. “I would like to point out that a lot of attention is being paid to migration, the very subject that led to the government’s collapse”, he said. “So why did the coalition government collapse in the first place? Couldn’t you have organised all of this within the coalition still?” But Hermans retorted she saw things differently: her ambitions in the matter are more far-reaching than those of the outgoing government.

CDA did support the motion in the end, as did SP, ChristenUnie, SGP, BBB, JA21, PVV and Forum voor Democratie (plus three MPs that branched off from the latter party), which meant it was overwhelmingly accepted.

HOP, Bas Belleman

Translation: Taalcentrum-VU

Author: Redactie

Photo: Shutterstock

Tags: internationalisation,bill,dijkgraaf,omtzigt,vvd,rutte,parliament

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