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  • If you have an EU nationality, you don’t need a permit to work in the Netherlands.
  • If you are a graduate from Croatia or a country outside the EEA, you are allowed to spend one year in the Netherlands to find a job as a highly skilled migrant.


  • You have to apply for a a permit for this so-called zoekjaar: an orientation year permit. This permit gives you access to the Dutch labour market.
  • You apply for the orientation year permit yourself at the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), either before the expiration date of your student residence permit up to three years after graduating if you wish to travel abroad first.

Costs and validity

  • The fee for the orientation year application is €171.
  • This permit is valid for a maximum of 12 months.
  • With this permit you have unlimited access to the Dutch job market. A work permit is not needed.

Extension not possible

  • During your orientation year, you cannot apply for benefits from the Dutch state, such as welfare or unemployment benefits.
  • The orientation year cannot be extended, which means that if you don’t find employment in the Netherlands during this year, you will either have to leave the Netherlands or acquire another type of residence permit.