Inburgeringsexamen: dozens of Dutch language schools committing fraud

Inburgeringsexamen: dozens of Dutch language schools committing fraud

Immigrants in the Netherlands have to take the Inburgeringsexamen a.k.a. the Civic Integration Exam within three years of their arrival, after which they can apply for a residence permit. In order to learn Dutch and other requirements for the various sections of the exam, candidates can take a loan of up to 10.000 euros.

Fraudulent Dutch language schools

The amount of money that Inburgeringsexamen candidates can borrow acts as an incentive for fraudulent language schools to take advantage of them, either by stealing their money or making a shady deal. Since the summer of this year, the number of reports of indications of fraud at language schools has drastically increased.

According to the Inspectorate SWZ, from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, of the 277 certified language schools in the Netherlands, there is a strong indication of fraud at 22 of them, a fairly strong indication at 12 and just an indication at another 53. The Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Inspectorate SWZ decide on which and how many cases are investigated. In 2018, 45 schools have already lost their certification and another 15 will likely lose theirs too.

This year, two criminal investigations have already been started and 11 language school locations in Amsterdam and Utrecht have been searched. In November, police in Amsterdam arrested a suspect at one of these locations; he is accused of giving students the answers to exam questions. Exams have already been postponed until next year because of leaked answers on social media.

New measures to fight fraud

“The current loans system is unfortunately vulnerable to fraud [… and] the number of reports is of such a nature that there is clearly a reason for concern”, Minister of Social Affairs, Wouter Koolmees stresses. A new integration regime will be implemented in 2020, however, before it is, new measures will be taken to fight fraud in the current situation.

As of April next year, language schools will no longer be able to send invoices to DUO ahead of time and paper invoices will only be paid if digital evidence can also be provided. Blik op Werk, which provides certification for language schools, will be carrying out expedited financial audits of all their certified schools and a greater number of unannounced inspections. Municipalities will also have a greater role, as they will be coordinating the procurement of language courses.

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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kyuteelee 08:36 | 28 December 2018

Not sure why the Netherlands cannot make it where there is a set low cost with a maximum number of students allowed per instructor and maximum number of classes permitted in a day per instructor. This would limit the drive for profit. Also by making it where a loan would not be required woukd help tremendously. In the USA, my cousin, who was a Korean citizen was able to take immigration classes that only cost $100 for each segment and payable upon applying for the class. The tests were part of tge immigration fee which was under $1,000!!!!. Each segment could be tested individually after paying the immigration fee. I suggest adding that if a student fails a segment exam that the school will be investigated to see if it is to gain extra profits at the expense of the students. INTEGRATION SHOULD NOT COST €10,000 OR MORE!!!!! My cosin was able to take his classes and pass them well within the 5 fact he was abke to finish them in a 2 year time frame without being given the answers and he was in his 30s. I am 53 with seizures and when I have a seizure I forget any new learned things that are recent but have found no way to even gain an exemption due to my disability. I am too disabled to work. I have USA social security disability. Also the issues with insurance companies and them putting me off to where I had to pay fines!!!! Not to mention pay a €3,000 euro hospital bill out of pocket!!!!! The whole integration system needs a major overhaul due to fraud from all areas!! People who are immigrating to the USA should not complain about cost when it costs over 10 times more to integrate in the Netherlands!!!!