Orientation Year

Are you highly educated and do you want to work in the Netherlands but have not found a suitable job yet? The Dutch government encourages you. That is why they have introduced a so-called ‘Orientation year for highly educated persons’ or ‘Search year’. You may be eligible for this policy on the basis of your 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 where you can do an internship, set up a business or volunteer without a work permit;
  • Free access to the Dutch labor market for your partner/spouse;
  • During your orientation year, more favorable conditions apply to being eligible for the highly skilled migrant residence permit, which also makes you more interesting for a potential employer.

Another advantage may be that during the search year your employer is not obliged to have the recognized IND sponsorship to hire you.

Who is eligible?

You are eligible for the orientation year if you, in the past 3 years:

  1. graduated from an accredited bachelor’s or master’s or postgraduate program in the Netherlands;
  2. have followed a post master or academic year of at least 10 months in the Netherlands;
  3. have followed an education in the Erasmus Mundus Masters Course;
  4. have completed a study in the Netherlands in the context of the Cultural Policy Act;
  5. completed a study in the Netherlands in the context of the development cooperation policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  6. have had a residence permit for scientific research in the Netherlands within the meaning of EU Directive 2005/71 / EC or you, as a highly skilled migrant, have a residence permit for scientific research in the Netherlands;
  7. meet the language requirements and you have 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 your field or research field of:

How can you apply for the orientation year?

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

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

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

If you register during your stay in the Netherlands and the status on your residence card is ‘education’, it is valid until three months after the end of your study program or until the start date of your search year if this is immediately after your study program.

Your family during the search year

If you want to stay in the Netherlands with your family and they already have a residence permit, nothing needs to be done. If your family members do not have a residence permit, you must submit the documents to the IND that meet the conditions or you must have sufficient financial resources to support yourself 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 you 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.

Applying for highly skilled migrant status before the end of your orientation year can provide additional benefits in finding a job. You are already eligible for this status with a lower income than the regular income requirement of EUR 3000 or EUR 4000. That makes you more interesting for recruitment by the employer. It may mean less income for you, but more opportunities to stay here in the Netherlands and work for a large company.

What clients say

Franco García Parigi – IT Support Engineer
TOSS made the difficulties and hard labors of immigrating to The Netherlands easy. They were on every step of the way giving needed documentations with legal and work related solutions as well. They also provided, with their housing network, a suitable place to live according to all my needs and expectations. Astonishing work overall, fully recommended.


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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