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The Netherlands lays down the “Red Carpet” for international students

Nuffic, The Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education—with the financial support of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science—has launched a new project to enhance international student support entitled “Red Carpet”. The primary goal of the initiative is to reduce the complexity of procedures faced by foreign students upon their arrival in The Netherlands and improve students’ levels information about these processes. With an ever-increasing number of international students, The Netherlands aims to provide effective guidance for this population, mainly in areas related to administrative rules and regulations, including legal registration processes, residence permits and all other official formalities. The scheme—which is set to launch in January 2011 and run through the end of the same year—will to develop a comprehensive, up-to-date and user-friendly guide to help international students navigate through the country’s official bureaucracy.

This project stems from an effort initiated by Nuffic to understand, and reduce, the difficulties faced by international students in this area. An external consultant tasked with assessing the nature and extent of the problem concluded that there was a huge lack of accurate and consistent information about such important issues as student residence permit application procedures. Indeed, many websites designed to provide information on this and other key points “were found to contain outdated, incomplete and incorrect information”.  A working group made up of key stakeholder organisations, such as: the IND (the Immigration and Naturalisation Service), DUO (the Education Executive Agency), the SURF foundation, Studielink and Studiekeuze123 was subsequently formed. In the face of this united front committed to streamlining official bureaucratic procedures for international students in The Netherlands, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science endorsed the “Red Carpet” plan.