At least several hundred foreign students in the Netherlands have been fined for not having sufficient health insurance.
Dutch daily Nrc Handelsblad reports that those affected are mostly students who didn’t realise that they had to enrol with a Dutch health insurer if they have a part-time job or paid internship paid alongside their study. The fines can be as high as 700 euros.
Foreign students usually have insurance in their home countries, but under legislation introduced in 2006, students who are working and earning income must have Dutch insurance. It’s not known exactly how many of the round 70,000 foreigners studying in the Netherlands have been penalised since the fines went into effect in May of last year.
The umbrella organisation of Dutch universities, VSNU, says it is aware of the problem and is working to find a solution. An increasing number of educational institutions are also publishing English-language warnings on their websites telling students how to avoid “bureaucratic hassle and financial penalties”.