Former students who moved abroad and did not report changes of address to DUO, were unable to pay their student loans for years. But the Education Executive Agency has put an end to this with an emergency measure: those who are in arrears cannot renew their passport. And that has far-reaching consequences. That reports Trouw today. The newspaper writes that the Education Executive Agency (DUO) has already prevented the renewal of the passports of 2,700 former students in recent years. The measure is only used for people who are in arrears of more than 5000 euros. A quarter of students abroad ‘lost’ A quarter of the 100,000 Dutch former students who live abroad have ‘lost’ DUO. A large proportion (80 percent) of these lost Dutch people have payment arrears and that was a thorn in the side of DUO for a long time.
The former students who, after their passport could not be extended, contacted DUO and made a payment arrangement, were given a temporary passport of 12 or 24 months. Although the scheme is effective, the National Ombudsman has strongly criticized it, according to the newspaper. If there is no contact with a ‘disappeared’ student, the ombudsman finds it understandable that DUO blocks the renewal of a passport. But if someone simply can’t meet the payments, such a block is ‘not meaningful and inappropriate’. Lose a job or leave the country Former students with whom the newspaper talks say that the measures have far-reaching consequences for their lives abroad. For example, people lost their jobs or could not stay in a country because of not having a valid passport. DUO considers this the responsibility of the former students.
(Translated by Google).