Indonesian nurses “overworked and exploited”:

A doctor checking the pulse of a patient on an infusion

Experienced nurses from Indonesia who were recruited by a Dutch college and jobs agency for a traineeship are claiming they were brought to the Netherlands under false pretences, reported on Friday.

The platform spoke to six of the nurses who had taken part, or are still taking part in a training programme offered by the Avans Hogeschool via jobs agency Your Medical Matchmaker.

The nurses say they were forced to work a 40-hour weeks when they were promised they would not be working more than 16 hours to give them time to study for a Dutch diploma. They also claim they were not paid for 24 of the hours because they were marked down as part of the traineeship.

“We are being overworked, exploited and left to our own devices,” one nurse told

One of the students said her contract with the agency specified she could not work at an Indonesian hospital while waiting for a student visa to go to the Netherlands. In the end she had to wait two years instead of the promised six months, before she could make the journey.

“The agency said it was the [immigration service] IND holding things up and that we had to be patient,” she said.

Once in the Netherlands she found that, unlike other students, they were not allowed to work in their preferred jobs but were offered only places in home nursing and elderly care. “But most of us wanted to work in a hospital, that is where our expertise is. (…) I have learned nothing new here,” she told

Another student suggested they were just brought here to relieve staffing problems.

‘In Indonesia we don’t have this system of home care and there are hardly any care homes for the elderly,” he said. “They need us here more than we need them.”

The Dutch labour inspectorate is now investigating the case.

In a statement on the Avans website the school and the agency said the training programme “complies with the norms” and that they are “confident” the investigation will find nothing wrong.

The IND has since stopped issuing student visa pending the result of the investigation which is expected after the summer.

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