What is the change? Dutch authorities are allowing certain permanent residence applicants who are already employed in the Netherlands to apply for exemptions from the Orientation on the Dutch Labour Market (ONA) test.

What does the change mean? The ONA is one of six tests that make up the civic integration exam. The other tests measure Dutch language skills and knowledge of Dutch identity and society. The ONA waiver is expected to considerably shorten the overall timelines for completing the civic integration exam.   

  • Implementation date: Ongoing. The ONA waivers became available April 20.
  • Visas/permits impacted: Permanent residence.
  • Who is impacted: Applicants for permanent residence who already hold a job in the Netherlands. To be eligible to apply for an exemption, the applicant must have held salaried employment for at least six month from the date of submitting the exemption request, and have worked a minimum of 48 hours per month during the six months.
  • Impact on processing times: The change is expected to considerably shorten the process of obtaining permanent residence for those who are eligible for the waiver. Currently, it can take up to 15 weeks to complete the ONA.

Additional information: The Netherlands saw a rapid increase in the number of migrants coming to the country in 2016 and 2017. The high number of permanent residence applicants led to a significant backlog for the civic integration examination, which is required for most applicants seeking permanent residence. Wait times for the ONA final interview increased to the point where completing the ONA can now take up to 15 weeks.

The Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment said in February 2018 that applicants for permanent residence who were already employed should be exempt from the ONA because they were already oriented in the labor market. Permanent residence applicants may now apply for waivers, provided they have been employed as a salaried worker for at least six months and have worked a minimum of 48 hours per month in each of those six months.

Analysis & Comments: The waiver for the ONA part of the Dutch civic integration examination is a welcome measure. Authorities are relatively efficient in processing the other five tests that make up the civic integration exam, meaning that the overall process will be considerably shortened by the ONA waiver.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.