Councils and student boards more accessible to internationals

| HOP, Evelien Flink

As of this year, it will be much easier for international students to join a participation council or sit on the board of a student association. Internationalisation organisation Nuffic and the Dutch National Student Association (ISO) are pleased with the news.

Photo by: Frans Nikkels

International students from outside Europe are only allowed to work 16 hours per week in addition to their studies. In order to prevent labour migrants from using a student visa to seek full-time employment in the Netherlands, a work permit is required for students who want to exceed this limit.

Until recently, these restrictions also applied to certain extracurricular activities, including participation council and board membership. In practice, this meant that many international students were excluded from these positions, as 16 hours per week is often not enough for a student to perform the duties that come with these kinds of memberships.


As a result of an amendment to the Foreign Nationals (Employment) (Implementation) Decree, participation council and board membership is now exempted from these restrictions. This means that students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) will no longer be barred from participating in this part of student life in the Netherlands.

A positive development, according to Nuffic and ISO. ‘If Dutch universities want to attract international students, we also need to make sure that those students can make their voices heard when it comes to their education’, says ISO president Kees Gillesse.

Previously, students from outside the EEA were already exempted from the work permit requirement for internships. International students do still need an internship agreement signed by both their internship provider and their university.