Orientation year in the Netherlands
Some call it a search year, others will call it an orientation year: both terms are used to identify the same residence permit: one which gives you as a highly educated expat, one year to find a job or start a company in the Netherlands. An orientation year permit is interesting for anyone who recently obtained (or will obtain) a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or finished a science program.
What is an orientation year permit?
An orientation year permit allows recent bachelor’s and master’s graduates from countries outside the Netherlands the option to stay in the Netherlands for a period up to 12 months.
The orientation year permit is interesting because it gives you the freedom to work for any employer in the Netherlands. As opposed to highly skilled migrants, who are only allowed to work for a company that is registered with the IND and have the so-called recognized sponsorship. This gives you an exceptional position on the labor market, especially on the market of highly skilled expats who want, or are going, to work in the Netherlands.
Who can apply for the orientation year permit?
Anyone who meets one of the following conditions can apply for the orientation year visa:
- You obtained a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the Netherlands;
- You completed at least one academic year of a post Master’s program in the Netherlands;
- You are a holder of a Master’s degree from one of the Erasmus Mundus Master courses;
- You obtained a Master’s degree from one of the top 200 educational institutions in the world.
What if you (are going to) have a residence gap?
You are eligible up-to three years after obtaining your bachelor’s or master’s degree. So if you have plans on traveling abroad or to visit your country of origin, you do not have to worry about the eligibility, as long as you come back and apply within three years.
What to do if you want to prevent a residence gap
If you want to prevent a residence gap, you have to make sure that you have your purpose of stay adjusted to ‘highly skilled migrant’ before the end of your orientation year. This means that you have to find an IND recognized employer.
How to apply for the orientation year permit
Did you decide you want to apply for the orientation year permit? Do so within three years of graduating. You can apply by submitting an application form to the IND and do not forget to have all required documents.
Do you want to know more about the orientation year? Check our article on this: Orientation year for highly educated persons.
What if the employer you had during your orientation year is not recognized, but still wants to continue with you
Lucky for you, TOSS offers payroll solutions. We are a recognized sponsor and can convert your orientation year status to that of a highly skilled migrant with a reduced salary. On paper, we may become your formal employer, but meanwhile you work for the employer that offered you your dream job during your orientation year.
Looking for a job or IND sponsorship?
TOSS also has a recruitment department and we are happy to help you find your (new) job with a recognized employer. Feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need advice, please email us at email@example.com or call or WhatsApp us on +31 20 261 9447.