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NL
Working in the Netherlands

Orientation year for non-EU

Information for international graduates

  • 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.

Apply yourself

  • 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.
  • You can apply for the Orientation year after your Bachelor’s and your Master’s, every time it’s for one year. Take note that you cannot combine those two and apply for the Orientation year permit after your Master’s of two years!

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.

How to apply for the orientation year permit