I am new to the Netherlands and need to integrate

You’re new to the Netherlands and would like to start a new life here. Fijnder can help you participate in Dutch society, to help you integrate.

Integration is a mandatory process for every newcomer aged between 16 years and the AOW age (pension age) who has a residence permit for a fixed period and who’ll live in the Netherlands for a longer period of time.

How can you integrate? 

First, you’ll receive a letter stating that you must integrate. You have three years to complete your integration process. To help you understand what’s involved, we’ll explain this step by step. 

General intake

You’ll need to talk to one of Fijnder’s client managers. During your intake you will discuss your personal situation.  After this general intake, you’ll receive a letter stating when you need to start your integration process.

Integration and participation; a personal plan

After the general intake, you and your client manger will draw up a personal plan. We call this plan the Personal Integration and Participation Plan. In this plan you’ll state your personal goals and any other agreements you have made with your client manager. Your personal plan also states which learning route you will follow. There are three learning routes. We’ll explain them briefly below. 

Learning routes

The B1 route is aimed at mastering the Dutch language at B1 level. To pass the B1 route, you must pass the central integration exam for reading, listening, writing, and speaking at level B1 as well as KNM (knowledge of Dutch society). 

This route is intended for young newcomers. The education route is a ‘language switching route’. It’s aimed at mastering the Dutch language at at least B1 level and integrating into regular education (MBO, HBO or WO). After successfully completing this route, you will know enough about the Dutch language, society, and labour market and have (study) skills to successfully participate in Dutch education. 

The Z-Route (self-reliance route) is aimed at mastering the Dutch language at at least A1 level and at being able to participate independently in Dutch society. This route is intended for newcomers for whom the B1 route and education route are too difficult and who have a lot of difficulty learning the Dutch language and will probably not reach level B1 or A2 within the integration period. 

Integrating into a new country can be quite complicated at times. You learn a lot of new things and you have to get used to quite a few changes. For example, paying for things in the Netherlands is something that may work quite differently to what you’re used to. That is why we’ll help you with your money matters. For this reason we’ve developed a training about how to pay and how to keep track of your income and your expenses. This is how we try to make sure that you are, and remain, financially healthy.

Participation statement process

In addition to the learning route, you will also have to complete the participation statement process. This process consists of two parts: a workshop on the core values of Dutch society and the signing of the participation declaration. By signing the participation statement, you declare that you have taken note of the values and rules of Dutch society, that you respect those rules and that you actively want to contribute to society. You will receive an invitation for the participation declaration process from your municipality.

Module Labour Market and Participation

In addition to the learning route and the participation statement process, you will also follow the Module Labour Market and Participation. After taking this module you will know a lot about the Dutch labour market. And you will also learn which skills and capacities are needed to be able to participate in the labour market. 

Exemption from the civic integration obligation

When you’re integrating, something may happen that prevents you from continuing with the integration process. For example, due to a medical condition. If this happens you may get an exemption from the integration obligation. You can apply for an exemption at Argonaut. If you’re not sure how to go about this, we’re happy to help!
There are several situations in which you can apply for either a partial or a complete exemption from the integration obligation, for example:

  • If you’ve lived in the Netherlands for at least eight years and you were obliged to follow education or a study programme during that period.
  • If you have a diploma, certificate or other document that shows you have sufficient knowledge of the Dutch language and Dutch society. 
  • If you are currently obliged to follow education or a study programme.
  • If you’re taking a course that will lead to a diploma, certificate or other document that shows that you have sufficient knowledge of the Dutch language and society. 
  • If you have lived in the Netherlands for at least ten years and have had at least five years’ work experience (voluntary or paid) and have passed a test for speaking skills and listening skills at level B1. 

You must apply for such an exemption yourself, at DUO (student finance agency). DUO decides whether you will receive an exemption or not.