Working in the healthcare

Where you a doctor, dentist, nurse or did you have another medical profession in your country of origin? The UAF likes to think along with refugee healthcare professionals about how they can practice their profession in the Netherlands again.

BIG registration: authority for healthcare providers

Doctor, dentist, pharmacist, physiotherapist, healthcare psychologist, psychotherapist, nurse and midwife are examples of protected professional titles in the Netherlands. This means that you may only use this professional title after permission from the government. For example, you cannot call yourself a doctor without permission. If you want permission to work in these professions, you must have a BIG registration.

Visit for a complete list of protected professional titles and for more information.


Assessment procedure

For a BIG registration, your (professional) knowledge and skills must meet Dutch requirements. You have to go through an assessment procedure. Than they know what your knowledge is and what you still need to learn for a BIG registration.


Based on research and experience, the UAF does not support the assessment procedure for pharmacists. If you are a pharmacist, our program counselors will talk to you about how you can best use your knowledge and experience in the Netherlands.

Guidance by UAF

The UAF has created step-by-step plans to give you an idea of ​​what to expect if you do a medical assessment. You will go through and follow this step-by-step plan in detail with a supervisor. Are you already curious about the obligations to obtain your BIG Registration? Check out the website the CIBG.

How can the UAF support healthcare professionals?

The UAF conducts consultations with you to discuss options and make a plan. We will discuss with you whether the medical assessment is a realistic route. What can you do to create the greatest possible chance of success? The UAF provides good advice that will help you get a succesfull start.

What are the registration conditions?

  • You have a Dutch residence permit on the basis of asylum*.
  • You received your residence permit no longer than 5 years ago (date of decision).
  • You have started a Dutch language course at B1 level.
  • You have completed prior training in your country of origin. This is comparable to the Dutch HAVO 5 level or 12 years of pre-education. Are you interested in a transition year, training or apprenticeship program? mbo-level? Then 10 or 11 years of pre-school education or HAVO 3 level may also be sufficient.

What are the fees?

The advisory service does not incur any costs for you.

Preparing for a medical assessment is intensive. In addition, it can be complicated to find the right information about this. Our counselors know a lot about this assessment procedure. They give you insight into the steps you need to follow. You will also receive tips to increase your chances of success. You work with the UAF, among other things, to improve your Dutch (medical) language and you do an internship to gain experience in Dutch healthcare. In addition, the UAF can help you gain practical experience. A mentor, internship and/or practical experience placement can help you gain experience and introduce you to the Dutch healthcare culture. This experience will help you complete the medical assessment and obtain your BIG registration.

The UAF has learned that you really have to take the individual steps of the process to complete the assessment properly. After these steps, you should ultimately be able to register in the BIG register and you can work in your profession again.

What are the registration conditions?

  • You have a Dutch residence permit on the basis of asylum*.
  • You received your residence permit no longer than 5 years ago (date of decision).
  • Your Dutch language level is B2 level. Do you not have this language level yet? Then read on to find out what we can do for you.
  • You have practiced a medical profession in your country of origin, such as doctor, dentist, pharmacist or nurse, or you have obtained a diploma for this in your country of origin. 

What are the fees?

Obtaining a BIG registration entails many costs. For example, the costs for the tests and a medical Dutch course. In addition, a notary must recognize and register your diploma and experience. The UAF will help you to explore the options for financial support. This depends on your personal situation.

Nazila: 'My dream has come true'

The Afghan Nazila Hosseini grew up in Iran and fled to the Netherlands when she was twenty. Here she followed her dream: become a doctor. At the VU, with the support of the UAF, she obtained her VWO diploma in one year with high marks. She graduated as a doctor in 2018. She was immediately accepted for training as a geriatric specialist.

Sign up & advice

Do you have a question for us? Complete the contact form. We will then contact you as soon as possible.

Please note: complete the form in Dutch or English. 

Before we register you at the UAF, we will first contact you to discuss your request for help and how we can support you exactly.

Prefer to talk to someone on the phone? Please call: 030 – 252 08 35.