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 ‘orientation year’) 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 orientation year

To make use of the orientation year 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 orientation year is twelve months
  • The administration fees for the orientation year 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 recognised as a sponsor by the IND. Recognised employers are listed in the Public Register of Recognised Sponsors
  • 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 orientation 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 orientation year.