03 March, 2010

But what if I'm an Oudkomer? - Guest Post

Just recently, friend and fellow international Connie received her invitation to inburger from the Almere Gemeente and was somewhat concerned (if her Facebook updates are anything to go by!) about what would be expected of her.

But, Connie had a completely different experience to me, which has probably more to do with my poor Dutch communication skills and her brilliant skills than anything! On the day, everything was simple and Connie has been invited to participate in the Exemption Test rather than the full inburgering process. Here's what Connie had to say:

Firstly, she asked for my identification then we went through the city registry, which did happen to say I'm a parent.

After updating the registry with also how many years education I had in the US she turned to the reason we were there. She explained that since 2007 it is now required that anyone living in Holland on a permanent basis needs to have proof of their level of integration.

This means certificates or diplomas, just my test results from a NT2 course from 1997 is not considered proof, I needed a certificate or diploma. When I asked how I could now get one after so long she said that they'd do that for me, that wasn't a problem. They could send my test results in and I'd get a certificate of the current level I tested at. HOWEVER, she didn't think was all necessary since I'd been here so long, spoke good Dutch and seemed to be integrated enough to do the Short Exemption Test. She didn't think I'd have any problem with this after a little bit of studying. She told me it'd be only one chance and if I didn't succeed then I could go the longer route and do inburgering. She was very positive that I'd do fine with the exemption test.

We also discussed the craziness of the whole thing bringing in people that have been here so long, she agreed and said she had a guy on the phone that had been here 25 years!!! But because it's now the law, this is what they're required to ask of us.

I was there maybe 10 minutes and she gave me my registration form for the test and she wished me well. It was a very positive meeting which surprised me since I've found that most people working for the government here are usually NOT very fun to talk to.
Taken directly from the IND website, The Exemption Test is outlined as follows:
TheExemptionTest (Short Form) is a condensed examination that can be taken on a computer. This examination is taken at a higher language level than the standard Civic Integration Examination Abroad, namely B1 level. Individuals who pass the Short Exemption Test shall be issued an Exemption Test (Short Form) certificate. If an individual applying for naturalisation is issued this certificate, he or she will be granted an exemption from the obligation to take the test or the examination.
The page where this quote is taken is by far the most comprehensive information in English that I have been able to find regarding the inburgering process.

As Connie outlined, there is only one shot at taking this test, and if she was to fail (that won't happen!), the inburgering curses will then be the next route to take (and with her level of Dutch and integration this would be completed within the minimum three months anyway).

Please join me in wishing Connie the best of luck with the upcoming Exemption Test. I'm looking forward to hearing more from Connie at this week's International Almere get together at the Cafe Jordaan in the Almere city centre. See you there?

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