Upon Departure

Working in the Netherlands after graduation

Search year extension

International students are allowed to spend a period of up to twelve months in the Netherlands ( ‘zoekjaar’ or ‘search year extension’) to find a job as a highly skilled migrant ('kennismigrant') after graduation. During this period you have free access to the Dutch labour market.

About the search year extension

To make use of the search year extension you need to apply for a change in the purpose of stay endorsed on your residence permit. Submit your application before graduating: you may not reside in the Netherlands without a valid residence permit.

  • The maximum duration of your search year extension is twelve months
  • The administration fees for the search year extension are € 608.
  • During your search year you may not apply for ‘toeslagen’ (state benefits).
  • You may take up a job during your search year to cover living expenses without applying for a work permit.

About highly skilled migrants

  • If you want to work for an organization as a highly skilled migrant, the organization has to be authorised to employ highly skilled migrants. You can find a list of these organizations on the IND website.
  • If you do not find a job as a ‘highly skilled migrant’ during your search year, you will have to leave the Netherlands.
  • When you find a job as a ‘highly skilled migrant’ you will need to apply for a residence permit change of purpose.

How to apply for a search year extension

To apply for a search year, submit the following documents to the IND office in Zwolle:

  1. Completed application form for the purpose of residence of ‘looking for work and carrying out work whether or not as an employee’ (.pdf).
  2. Copy of your UT Bachelor/Master diploma.

More information

Visit the website of the Holland Alumni Network for further information about applying for a search extension.