The Dutch foundation the University Assistance Fund is currently implementing a project, co-financed from the European Refugee Fund (Dutch national programme), focusing on the needs of higher educated refugees who are resettled to the Netherlands. The project is being implemented in close cooperation with the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA), municipalities, universities, and student associations. The aim of the project is to improve on the reception arrangements for higher educated refugees to facilitate their access to higher education as soon as possible after arrival and so contribute to quicker and more successful integration.
Referrals of refugees to UAF are made by COA in advance of refugees’ arrival to municipalities, which allows for better planning and organisation of the delivery of education guidance services, language training and education courses once refugees arrive in the Netherlands. Pre-arrival cooperation between COA, UAF and the municipalities allows also for the improved housing arrangements so that resettled refugees are housed in the localities where there is suitable education provision.
Reception and integration progress
A mentoring programme between the refugees and Dutch students that is being developed by the project should further facilitate resettled refugees’ reception and integration processes. In addition, the project has developed a film on the education system in the Netherlands that can be used as a resource material for COA pre-departure orientation programme so that resettled refugees are given a realistic picture of educational and career opportunities in the Netherlands.
Two good practices in The Netherlands
The Foundation Year for International Students (VASVU) that offers a preparatory programme for refugees who want to study in The Netherlands
The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool van Amsterdam) that aims to improve support for refugees during their studies