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Orientation year

Foreign graduates searching for a job in the Netherlands can apply for a residence permit for an orientation period. This permit is valid for 1 year. During this time, you are free on the Dutch labor market. You do not need a separate work permit.

You may apply for this permit up until 3 years after your graduation date. This means you could return to your home country upon graduation and return to the Netherlands a while later.

You may also want to read our news article here.

For whom?

To qualify for the orientation year permit you must meet one of the following conditions:
• you earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree or PhD in the Netherlands
• you have conducted scientific research in the Netherlands
• you earned a master or post doctorate degree at one of the Top 200* educational institutions abroad and have sufficient command of the English language
• one of these situations applies to you

You found a job

If you find work during your orientation year, you must change your permit to a residence permit for employment. This can be a permit as a highly skilled migrant, or if you start your own business, a residence permit for entrepreneurs.

If you are hired under the highly skilled migrant (HSM) program (your employer must be an HSM sponsor), a reduced minimum wage applies. This lower minimum wage requirement remains applicable when you change HSM-employer or when you turn 30 years of age.

The reduced minimum wage amount for recent graduates is reviewed twice a year. You can find it on our page with salary criteria.

An overview of residence permits for employment or entrepreneurship is presented on these pages:

*Top 200 educational institutions: