And when do you have to do this exam?

Many newcomers in the Netherlands have difficulty finding work or finding a job at their level. There are various reasons why it is difficult for non-Dutch people to find suitable work. For example, it may be due to a lack of suitable jobs or a language deficit. But research also shows that it is difficult for many newcomers to understand how the Dutch labour market works.

It is easier to build a life in the Netherlands if you work. To help people who are new to the Netherlands to find work more easily, the examination component Orientation on the Dutch Labour Market (ONA) has been developed. ONA is a way to find out what kind of work you could and want to do, and what it takes to achieve that.


In this dossier, we explain what the ONA exam is, how to prepare for it and what you can do to pass this exam component.


Orientation on the Dutch Labour Market is a compulsory part of the integration exam.

What is Orientation on the Dutch Labour Market (Oriëntatie op de Nederlandse Arbeidsmarkt)?

Orientation on the Dutch Labour Market (Oriëntatie op de Nederlandse Arbeidsmarkt, ONA) has been an obligatory part of the integration test since 2015. Together with the Knowledge of Dutch Society (Kennis van de Nederlandse Maatschappij, KNM) and the participation declaration, ONA forms the part of the integration degree that is not about language but about Dutch society.


The ONA exam consists of two parts:

  • a portfolio: this is a comprehensive report of your search for the work you want to do in the Netherlands;
  • take a 64-hour course or do a final interview.


Who has to take the ONA exam?
Everyone who acquired an integration requirement (‘inburgeringsplichtig’) after 1 January 2015 must take the ONA exam component. That applies to people taking the integration exam and for people who take the State Examination NT2 Programme I or Programme II to meet their integration requirement.


In some cases, you do not need to integrate. Then you do not have to take the ONA exam.


Read more about when you do not have to integrate in the dossier Integration (‘Inburgeren’) >


What if you already have a job or your own business?

Maybe you already have work in the Netherlands. Even then you have to do the ONA exam to integrate. That may sound illogical and unnecessary. However, the Dutch government considers it important that everyone who has to integrate actively investigates how the Dutch labour market works and how to find employment. If people who are working now should lose their jobs or want to do something else, they know how to approach this.


Even if you have your own company in the Netherlands, you must do the ONA exam to integrate. You should then think which occupation you would like to have should you stop with your business.

Read more

The ONA exam is not an exam like you may be accustomed to. You cannot study for it, but you do have to spend time on it. On the page ‘What does the ONA exam entail?’, we tell you about the components of the exam and what you need to do for each component.

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