Parliamentary questions about Romanian DUO fraud

MP Pieter Omtzigt has asked Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf why the Dutch Education Executive Agency (DUO) hasn’t done anything about a Romanian fraud case that was reported by UKrant last week.

The organisation Global Confederation of Romanian Students (GCRS) assists students in obtaining fictitious employment, enabling them to apply for student financing in the Netherlands. The UKrant article revealed that DUO has been aware of GCRS’s practices for some time but has not taken any action.

‘We know a lot of students have problems with GCRS, so we’re waiting to find out whether they’ll sue the NGO or not’, a spokesperson said last week to UKrant. Omtzigt, as evident from his questions, does not understand this and has asked the minister for clarification.


GCRS would ask students’ families to make a donation to GCRS, which then transfers the money to the student as salary. Students were then able apply for student financing from DUO, even if they do not work the required number of hours.

Students would then return the salary to their own family, who were subsequently asked to make another donation to the organisation. With the money circulating like this, DUO would continue to pay out.

Romanian students in Groningen told UKrant that they had ultimately been scammed, because GCRS eventually stops repaying the donations. The family members and the students have now lost their money.

Significant increase

It is unclear how much money DUO has wrongly paid out as part of this scam. The number of Romanian students in the Netherlands has increased significantly in recent years, from 1,600 in 2015 to nearly 7,000 now.

This places the country third among ‘suppliers’ of international students, after Germany and Italy. In Groningen, Romania even ranks second.


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