Citizen service number for students from islands

Prospective stu­dents from the Dutch Caribbean as of next year will be able to get a citizen service number, a so-called BSN, when they go to the Netherlands to study.

Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Robbert Di­jkgraaf announced this during a debate in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament last Thurs­day. He explained that he and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK were looking into a practical short-term solution for students of all six Dutch Caribbean islands.

Dijkgraaf said that the Minis­try of BZK has suggested that the Dutch study financing de­partment DUO be mandated to issue BSNs for clients, namely students. DUO will be requested this month to draft an impact analysis of this option.

The minister said he expected the results of the impact analysis mid-May this year, after which decision-taking can take place in June. The legal aspect of this arrangement will be secured in a General Measure of Government AMvB, which can be implement­ed faster than a law change. The technical realisation is expected to take one year. This means that by 2023, all Dutch Caribbean stu­dents will receive a BSN through DUO.

Member of Parliament (MP) Habtamu de Hoop of the Labour Party PvdA said he was genuinely concerned about the fact that Dutch Caribbean students scored substantially worse during their studies in the Netherlands, and that some of the problems stemmed from logistical issues that these students faced.

According to an earlier report of the Dutch Na­tional Ombudsman, secur­ing a BSN from the time they arrived in the Neth­erlands was mentioned as one of the challenges that students faced. Having a BSN is necessary in order to get an electronic ID, a DigiD, to open a bank ac­count, secure housing and acquire healthcare insur­ance. Students also need a BSN and DigiD to register at a school or university and at DUO.

MP De Hoop submitted a motion, co-signed by MP Jorien Wuite of the Demo­cratic Party D66, which called on the Dutch gov­ernment to assign a BSN to Dutch Caribbean students in the Netherlands without waiting for the necessary legislation to be adapted.

Minister Dijkgraaf said he had no objection to the motion, which will be vot­ed on today, Tuesday. It is expected that the motion will be adopted. Minister Dijkgraaf was also positive about two other motions of Wuite and De Hoop to introduce a kingdom study grant and to strengthen the libraries in the Caribbean Netherlands.

The Daily Herald.

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