AKV test is replaced by language certificates

The general Knowledge & Skills test (AKV test) is part of the BIG recognition procedure for qualified care providers with a diploma obtained outside the EU (application for a certificate of professional competence). After evaluation, it was decided to remove this test from the procedure as of 1 January 2024. Instead, applicants must provide language certificates of their Dutch and English proficiency directly with the application. The change has a number of advantages. From 17 July 2023 to 1 January 2024, there will be a transition period.

The AKV test

The current AKV test aims to assess whether the applicant has a number of basic skills such as Dutch and English language skills to practice the care profession. There are three AKV tests: one for academic professions, one for HBO professions and one for MBO professions. This test is only administered by Taalinstituut Babel.


In the past period, the recognition procedurehas been evaluated in consultation with the Foreign Graduate Committee (CBGV). As a result, it was decided to abolish the testing of language skills via the AKV tests. Instead, applicants must present language certificates with their application that demonstrate that they have mastered Dutch and English proficiency in the right parts and at the right level. There are no changes to the required language levels.

Benefits of modification

  • Freedom of choice is increased. Language certificates can be purchased by a large number of language institutes.
  • The focus of the assessment of the professional competence of a care provider will be more on the substantive side of the healthcare profession. It is expected that applicants will experience the recognition process as more relevant and logical.
  • Applicants are more self-determining the time they need to get their language skills up to standard. In the current situation, an applicant must take the AKV test within one year of submitting an application. Despite the fact that applicants are advised in advance to start working with the language skills well before the application, in practice it turned out that this was often insufficiently known and/or happened. As a result, some of the applicants did not pass the AKV test or did not pass it at once.

Language certificate requirements

When applying for a Certificate of Professional Competence, language certificates for Dutch and English proficiency must be provided. The certificates shall meet the following requirements:

  • The Dutch certificate must be tested en obtained for reading, writing, speaking and listening;
  • The English certificate must be tested and obtained for reading;
  • The certificates must be obtained at the language level required for the profession;
  • The certificates must have been obtained with a passing grade;
  • The certificate must not have been obtained more than two years ago.

Note! A certificate or proof of participation in a language course is not a valid language certificate. The language skills must have been tested by a language institute and passed with a passing grade.

Where can the language certificates be obtained?

Dutch language certificate:

  • NUT-institution;
  • Providers where the state exam NT2 can be taken (for MBO and HBO);
  • All language institutes where a certificate can be obtained with which the above requirements can be met.

English Language Proficiency Certificate: all providers offering the following official English proficiency tests:

  • IELTS;
  • Cambridge;
  • TOEFL;
  • Certificate of NUT institution.

Transitional period

The AKV test will officially disappear from the procedure on 1 January 2024. However, a transition period will already apply from 17 July 2023. During this period, the following points apply:

  • The AKV test component knowledge of the Dutch healthcare system and professional expressions will expire on 17 July 2023;
  • If you already have language certificates that meet the requirements, they will be accepted as a replacement for the AKV test as of 17 July. If you have the correct language certificates, but have already paid for the AKV test and have not yet taken them, a refund is possible
  • Until 31 December 2023 it will remain possible to take the AKV tests;
  • Obtained AKV test components Dutch and English language proficiency will remain valid after 1 January 2024.
  • If you have not passed part A or B of the AKV test (Dutch) for academic professions, a partial certificate can also be submitted after January 1, 2024.

Do you currently have a pending application for a certificate of professional competence and have you not yet taken an AKV test or have you partially done it? Then you will receive a personal message about what the expiry of the AKV test may mean in your situation.


Please contact our customer contact centre or send your question to erkenningdiploma@minvws.nl.