Learning Dutch – The ins and outs of being “inburgered”

Learning Dutch – the ins and outs of being “Inburgered”

The information provided in this article is relevant only to Almere residents, but can be used as a rough outline. We suggest check any and all information provided. The information provided here is accurate as at March 1st, 2016. We strongly urge you to check all relevant websites as the information on inburgering is constantly changing.

Welcome to Almere – one of the youngest and most diverse cities in the Netherlands. By now you’ve probably done all the stuff you need to get done – registered at the Gemeente, had your appointment with the IND and lodged your applications for residency permits and the like.

And then … the envelope appears. That small, white envelope from a place called DUO. That’s right; you’re required to complete ‘Inburgering’ in a set time period. You frantically Google inburgering and come up with pages of websites, some English, some Dutch, some positive, some negative – and all possibly confusing you more. The aim here is to give you an overview of what it is – and hopefully clear that confusion

This information has been written for those who arrived in the Netherlands after the 1st of January 2013. For all personal information on their individual cases, persons arrived after that date have to contact DUO.  Gemeente Almere does not have your file and is not able to give you any information about your Inburgering.

Only those who arrived in the Netherlands before the first of January 2013 can contact Gemeente Almere, (tel. 14036) and ask for the Sociale Zaken team Inburgering, and make an appointment to talk over their case.

What is inburgering?

Simply put, inburgering is a course on Dutch Language. It is meant for integration.

There are 3 options that you can undertake, and don’t worry when you receive your letter from DUO. However, it is up to you to find your course and also fund it. It is possible to get a loan at DUO with low interest and a partial refund, however, this is on a case by case basis and unfortunately not everyone qualifies for this. Everything on the loan and refund is here.

The 3 options for Inburgering

Option 1 , For this option you study both language and Dutch society. – Integration Exam (). Inburgeringsexamen (applicable to those who received their residence permits after Jan 1, 2013.) Prior to 2013 , the level of Dutch required was below A2 level, but now there is a stronger focus on word order and grammar, and the pace of the speaking in the exams is almost normal conversational level, though on simple themes. The level will help you with everyday life, but is not conversational.

There are 5 parts to this option– Kennis Nederlandse Samenleving (Knowledge of Dutch Society), Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing Skills.

KNS asks you questions about everyday Dutch society – things about the government, daily life in the Netherlands, the school system, assurances etc. This is a computer based exam. Generally you’ll be given short video/audio clips to listen to, texts to read, answer questions or be required to write a letter to a friend on their birthday, a short job application, or fill a form.

WAIT! Did you arrive after 1-1-15 ? For you, a 6th part is compulsory: ONA. ONA means Oriëntatie op de Nederlandse Arbeidsmarkt. You have to prepare a portfolio that consists of 8 ‘resultcards’. Each card has a different theme, like ‘developing competencies for work’ and ‘finding work’. After having done research for your personal situation and having filled the cards, you have an oral test of 30 mins- in Dutch to see whether your plans are realistic.

Candidates Inburgeringsexamen who are not planning to work or are working already, also have to do ONA. Also, highly skilled migrants who want a long stay permit or naturalization , have to do ONA if they register for the Inburgeringsexamen after 1-1-15-.

Ask IND in detail which rules are valid for your specific situation!

Option 2 –For this option you study only language. State Examination Dutch as a Second Language Program 1. (Staatsexamen NT2 – Nederlands als Tweede Taal – Programma 1)

The language level of this exam is basic conversational Dutch (officially, CEFR B1 level) and for people who wish to find work in the Netherlands as an electrician, technician, hairdresser or bookkeeper or wish to study at a middle vocational education level (MBO ).

WAIT! Did you arrive after 1-1-15 and are you fulfilling your civic integration obligation by taking State Exam Programme I? In that case, two new parts are obligatory: KNS and ONA.

Candidates State Exam :Programme I who are not planning to work or are working already, also have to do KNS-ONA. Also, highly skilled migrants who want a long stay permit have to do KNS-ONA if they register for the State Exam Programme I after 1-1-15. However, highly skilled Migrants who want Naturalisation and opt for State Exam I, do NOT need to do KNS-ONA.

Ask IND in detail which rules are valid for your specific situation!

Option 3 – State Examination Dutch as a Second Language Program 2. (Staatsexamen NT2 – Nederlandse as Tweede Taal – Programma 2).

The language level of State Exam 2 (officially, CEFR B2 level) suits people who need Dutch to work in functions like a manager or in IT, as well as being necessary for study in Dutch at a Hogeschool ( higher vocational education) (University of Applied Science) or a university in the Netherlands.

It is possible to learn a lot of Dutch all by yourself, but in order to prepare for the requirements of State Exam II, go to a good exam school for at least one or two courses.

WAIT! Did you arrive after 1-1-15 and are you fulfilling your civic integration obligation by taking State Exam Programme II? In that case, two new parts are obligatory: KNS and ONA.

Candidates State Exam :Programme II who are not planning to work or are working already, also have to do KNS-ONA. Also, highly skilled migrants who want a long stay permit have to do KNS-ONA if they register for the State Exam Programme II after 1-1-15. However, highly skilled Migrants who want Naturalisation and opt for State Exam II, do NOT need to do KNS-ONA.

Ask IND in detail which rules are valid for your specific situation!

Wait – where do I find a good exam school?

These schools are officially recognised by DUO.

Hang on a minute… what is CEFR? What are all those letters? All will be explained at the end of this article, we promise.

Each Staatsexamen is broken into 4 sections – Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking.

When do I take the Inburgering exam?

When you feel confident in yourself – and before the end of the time frame allotted to you by the IND. Bear in mind you must pay each time you take the exams! In order to prepare for the Inburgering Exam, there is a lot of material on the internet – both bad and good. However, it will save you a lot of time when you study online at a trustworthy site like http://www.nt2.nl/

Generally, if you are taking a course through a language school, your teacher will indicate to you if they feel you are ready to attempt the level you are aiming for. In good schools, students are regularly tested. If you are taking the home study option – it may be a little more difficult for self-assessment, however, there are practice exams online!

How can I practice my Dutch to gain my confidence?

The easiest way is to start using it. Talk to your neighbours, the shop assistants, your mail person!. Watch some Dutch TV, try a newspaper. There are organisations dedicated to helping people learn – like the Gilde Samenspraak. These are volunteers who will meet with you on a regular basis for conversation practice. The more you use the language, the more confident you’ll be.

Geslaagd! What now?

The first thing is to make sure you don’t lose that piece of paper.  Your results are attached to your BSN by DUO, but you can also call them to check this by phone with DUO on 050-5999600.  Keep your diplomas, ‘cijferlijst’ and everything in a safe place, as you can be asked for them even by employers.

Wait – What about those CEFR things you spoke about?

CEFR stands for the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. It measures at what level you speak a language.

In this article, we referred to A2, B1 and B2 – they are as follows (as per Wikipedia)

Level Group Level Group Name Level Level Name Description
A Basic A1 Breakthrough or Beginner
  • Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type.
  • Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has.
  • Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
A Basic A2 Way Stage or Elementary
  • Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
  • Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
  • Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

 

B Independent User B1 Threshold or intermediate
  • Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • Can deal with most situations likely to arise while traveling in an area where the language is spoken.
  • Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.
  • Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
B Independent User B2 Vantage or Upper Internediate
  • Can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in his/her field of specialization.
  • Can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible without strain for either party.
  • Can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.

Thanks for the information, but I think I need some more!

No problem. We’ve assembled a list of helpful links for you. Good luck!

http://en.inburgeren.nl/

http://www.government.nl/issues/new-in-the-netherlands/integration-of-newcomers.

https://www.hetcvte.nl/item/staatsexamens_nederlands_als (Dutch Site)

http://www.gilde-nederland.nl/projecten.htm (Dutch Site)

http://www.hetbegintmettaal.nl/ (Dutch Site)

written by Stephanie Ernst and Margreet Kwakernaak of Suitcase Talen. Based on an original article by Nerissa Muijs.