Orientation year permit

The ‘Orientation year highly educated persons’ (in Dutch "Zoekjaar Hoogopgeleiden") allows highly educated foreign nationals to spend a period of up to twelve months in the Netherlands to find a job as a highly skilled migrant, or to start an innovative company.

This orientation year can be applied for within three years after graduation or finishing your research.

Residence permits for the purpose orientation year are issued for a maximum period of one year and cannot be extended. At the end of the year, you must either apply for a change of purpose, or leave the country.

Meant for

The ‘Orientation year highly educated persons’ is aimed at three groups of foreign nationals:

  • Those who have obtained a Bachelor, Master or PhD degree, at a recognized Dutch Higher education institution.
  • Those who have finished doing research in the Netherlands whilst holding a residence permit for scientific research.
  • Those who have obtained a Master or PhD degree abroad from one of the universities listed in the top 200 of one of the following ranking lists:
    • Times Higher Education World University Rankings;
    • QS World University Rankings or
    • Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Features of Orientation year

  • Eligible are foreigners who finished a bachelor or master, a PhD or research in the Netherlands.
  • Applicable up to 3 years after finishing study, PhD, research.
  • Can be applied from abroad (at an embassy or consulate).
  • Whilst having a residence permit, one has free access to the Dutch labour market. Employers do not need a work permit.
  • The orientation year permit can be requested once for each graduation or research ground. E.g. if you have graduated twice in the Netherlands, you can apply for two orientation years.
  • Eligible for family reunion, but in that case the applicable standard amount applies to prove that you have sufficient funds to maintain yourself. During the orientation year, the family member has free access to the Dutch labour market too.