The National Ombudsman, Reinier van Zutphen, has sounded the alarm again: despite the promises, new students from the Caribbean continue to have problems with their application for a BSN number. He gave the warning at interparliamentary talks between delegations from Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Netherlands. A spokesperson for the Ombudsman confirms a report on news website

In November, Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf announced that Caribbean students who come to the ‘European Netherlands’ to study ought to be able to get a BSN number via the Education Executive Agency (DUO) before their departure. That would mean that they are registered in advance in the Dutch basic administration.

New target

Up to now they have been able to apply for a BSN number only after they arrive in the Netherlands. That causes delays and red tape when arranging their student financing and student public transport card. Additionally, they cannot open a bank account and take out insurance.

The new target for getting things better organised is next April. The Ombudsman exhorted the MPs to ensure that this deadline is met. The situation in the Netherlands is, in his view, dreadful. At the moment, it is easier for Caribbean students to go to a country such as Belgium to study: there they are at least treated as EU citizens, was his sarcastic comment.

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