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21 juli 2023

Residence Permit for Orientation Year

A Guide for International Graduates in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has become a sought-after destination for international students pursuing higher education. Over the years, there has been a rise in the number of international graduates who aspire to remain and work in the country after completing their studies. To simplify this process, the Dutch government has implemented a residence permit known as the “orientation year” or “zoekjaar.”

This work visa enables non-EU/EEA students who have finished their studies in the Netherlands to stay in the country for up to one year, during which they can seek employment or establish their own business. The primary objective of this program is to retain talented individuals, allowing them to gain valuable work experience and make contributions to the Dutch economy. In this article we talk more about residence permits and Work Visas.

Who is Eligible?

To be eligible for an orientation year residence permit, you must meet certain criteria:

  • In the last three years, you conducted research while residing in the Netherlands under a permit issued for either research purposes or as a highly skilled migrant engaged in research work.
  • You have completed a master’s degree in the past 3 years through an Erasmus Mundus Masters Course.
  • You completed one of the below listed study programs in the past 3 years:
    • A bachelor’s or master’s degree from a recognized Dutch higher education institution.
    • A post-master’s program that lasts for at least 10 months in the Netherlands.
    • A study program related to the Cultural Policy (Special-Purpose Funding) Act in the Netherlands.
    • A study program in the Netherlands related to the development cooperation policy of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
    • Completed a master’s degree, doctoral program, or post-master’s program at a specific foreign educational institution. Additionally, meeting one of these criteria:
      • You received a score of at least 6.0 on either Academic or General Training version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).
      • Alternatively, you obtained a minimum score of 6.0 on other recognized
      • English language tests such as TOEFL, TOEIC, and Cambridge English grades listed in the Code of Conduct for International Students in Higher Education.
  • You possess a diploma, certificate, or document mentioned in Article 2.1 of the Regulation on Civic Integration 2021 (only available in Dutch), or have completed your master’s, doctoral, or post-master’s program in either English or Dutch.

If you did not previously hold a residence permit for an orientation year after completing your research or study program, there’s good news. If you have conducted additional research projects or completed different study or doctoral programs, the IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service) can issue a residence permit for an orientation year after each of these endeavors. This means that you may be eligible for multiple orientation year permits if you have engaged in multiple research projects or completed various study or doctoral programs.

Benefits of Orientation Year Permit

This work permit provides several benefits to international graduates who wish to stay and work in the Netherlands after completing their studies:

1. Work Experience

During this period, graduates are allowed to work full-time without requiring a work permit, which provides them with an opportunity to gain relevant work experience in their field and build their professional network in the country.

2. Permanent Residence Permit

If graduates find a permanent job during their orientation year, they may be eligible for a permanent residence permit under Highly Skilled Migrant Program (HSMP).

3. Start-Up Visa

Graduates who wish to start their own business can apply for a Start-Up Visa under the orientation year permit, which allows them to reside and develop their business idea in the Netherlands for up to one year.

4. Quality of Life

The Netherlands is known for its high quality of life with excellent healthcare facilities, a wide variety of housing options and vibrant cultural scene.

From student to professional

The orientation year permit is a work permit that offers an opportunity for international graduates who desire to remain and pursue employment in the Netherlands following their studies. This permit is highly sought-after due to its straightforward application process and the array of benefits it provides, including valuable work experience, the potential for a permanent residence permit, and eligibility for a start-up visa. It is no wonder that the orientation year permit is a popular choice among international graduates in the Netherlands. If you meet the eligibility criteria, apply for an orientation year residence permit, you embark on your career in the Netherlands!

If you are not familiar with the regulations and procedures in the Netherlands. Dutch Employer of Record in the Netherlands can help you figure out which permit applies to you and how to go about the application process. If you are interested in learning more about our offerings, get in touch with us or create a profile to see what an Employer or Record can do for you.

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