Stricter rules announced for Orientation year permit

Foreign students in the Netherlands, after having graduated from either a Dutch university or a foreign university, have used the orientation year permit (zoekjaar in Dutch) to find a job in the Netherlands and very often succeed in obtaining a highly Skilled Migrant position directly after the completion of the search year or within 3 years after completion.

Applicants can apply for this type of residence permit within 3 years after completing a study or Phd in the Netherlands or abroad.

By providing this immigration category, the Netherlands aims at retaining and attracting foreign talent for the Dutch labor market.
Equally, this residence permit is very attractive for employers in the Netherlands as they do not need to obtain separate work authorization as someone is allowed to work without separate work authorization. In addition, recent graduates fall under a lower salary criterion (currently Euros 2497 per month).

In case of completion of a study or phd abroad, the applicant must be able to prove that his study or program is listed in the top 200 of one of the general ranking lists or in the top 200 of one of the available ranking lists by faculty or by subject field of the:

  • Times Higher Education World University Rankings
  • QS World University Rankings
  • Academic Ranking of World Universities

Recently, the Dutch Ministry of Justic and Security has announced to tighten this by having the student to prove that his study or program is listed in two out of the three university rankings.

Expat Management Group’s immigration team closely monitors the developments and latest immigration updates and also provides assistance and guidance with applying for the search-year permit and/or converting the permit to a Highly Skilled migrant. If you need assistance with the application process or want to hire a recently graduted student, please do not hesitate to conact us at

Can we help you?

Contact us at the nearest Expat Management Group office or submit a contactform.