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By decision of 10 April 2019, the Civic integration decree was amended. This legislative amendment came into effect on 20 April 2019. Earlier, we reported that the proposal of the minister of Social Affairs and Employment to exempt employed candidates from the ONA test (‘Orientation on the Dutch labor market’) was delayed. From 1 April 2019 it was already possible however, for employed candidates to request an exemption pending the final amendment.

With this latest amendment the new rules on this exemption are definitive. To obtain the exemption, a request must be submitted with the ‘Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs’ (DUO). The request is granted when, in the 12 months prior to the date of the request, the applying candidate has been employed for at least 6 months during which at least 48 hours a month (12 hours a week) were salaried and included in the tax administration of the employer.

The minister has added that the exemption also applies to persons who have to take the civic integration test for the purpose of obtaining a stronger right of residence, such as a permanent residence or for the purpose ‘non-temporary humanitarian’ (continued residence).

For the time being, candidates who are self-employed are not eligible for exemption of the ONA test. According to the minister, the situation for self-employed persons is more complicated than for employees and requires further consultation with ministries and authorities involved. When an appropriate approach is found for self-employed persons, it may be included in a separate legislative amendment. We will of course keep a close eye on any developments.

For more information, or assistance with submitting a request for exemption, please contact Barbara Wegelin, Elles Besselsen or Lotte van Diepen.

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