Orientation Year

for highly educated persons

Do you want to hire a highly educated student, or a just a graduated person? The Dutch government encourages this. That is why they have introduced a so-called ‘Orientation year for highly educated persons’ or ‘Search year’. This policy may be applicable to the highly skilled person that you would like to hire on the basis of their education.

Would you like to know more

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Benefits of the orientation year:

  • A residence permit for 12 months;
  • Free access to the Dutch labor market for their partner/spouse;
  • During the orientation year, more favorable conditions apply to being eligible for the highly skilled migrant residence permit, which also makes it more interesting for an employer to hire;
  • The required IND salary for these people after their orientation year is lower than the standard highly skilled migrant salary;
  • During the search year there are no salary requirements, which is an advantage for you as an employer.

Another advantage may be that during the search year of the employee you as employer are not obliged to have the recognized IND sponsorship.

Who is eligible for this orientation year?

A person is eligible for the orientation year if he or she in the past 3 years:

  • graduated from an accredited bachelor’s or master’s or postgraduate program in the Netherlands;
  • has followed a post-master or academic year of at least 10 months in the Netherlands;
  • has completed an education by the Erasmus Mundus Masters Course;
  • has completed a study in the Netherlands in the context of the Cultural Policy Act;
  • completed a study in the Netherlands in the context of the development cooperation policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  • has had a residence permit for scientific research in the Netherlands within the meaning of EU Directive 2005/71/EC or, as a highly skilled migrant has a residence permit for scientific research in the Netherlands;
  • meets the language requirements and has completed a master’s or postgraduate course or a Ph.D. from a designated international educational institution abroad, which is in the top 200 of one of the general rankings or in the top 200 of one of the available rankings per field that corresponds to the field or research field of:

How can someone apply for the orientation year?

To meet the application requirement for the orientation year there is a need for a diploma and valid ID. At the Dutch Immigration Service (IND) they can then fill in the application “orientation year highly educated persons” themselves. The application costs can be found here.

If they do not have a diploma yet, a statement that they have met the conditions of this will suffice.

When they register for the orientation year from abroad, they must start the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV procedure) at a Dutch embassy or consulate in their country. There they will receive a residence permit (MVV), which in Dutch, stands for Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf.

But the conclusion in this is that they need to apply themselves.

The family during the search year

If the person with the orientation year status wants to stay in the Netherlands with their family and they already have a residence permit, nothing needs to be done. If the family members do not have a residence permit, they must submit the documents to the IND that meet the conditions or must have sufficient financial resources to support themselves for the duration of one year to qualify for family reunification. The mandatory financial requirement that applies to this can be found on the IND website.

After the orientation year

After the search year they can submit a new application to stay in the Netherlands. Because every case is different, it is important to know what the possibilities are. TOSS would be happy to help you with this.

It is important to know that if you would like to continue with this employee you need to become an IND sponsor or you could use TOSS In Holland for this. We would take over the employee on our payroll, which we are allowed to do since we have the IND sponsorship. If we arrange this before the orientation years ends, you can avoid needing to pay the required IND salary for someone under or above 30 years of age. This saves you a lot of money.

About TOSS

As The One Stop Shop, TOSS offers a wide range of services for expats and/or their employers in the field of living and working in the Netherlands with the aim of making every related process as smooth and effective as possible.

We have over 20 years of experience and we have carefully built up an extensive global network of specialists to serve you. All our team members are specialized and educated with all needed payroll certificates and our services meet the (inter)national standards.


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