Facilitating the career of international graduates in the Netherlands

Knowledge and talent is welcome in the Netherlands to strengthen our competitive position and knowledge-based economy. Therefore, the Dutch government decided to improve the already existing orientation year scheme (also known as Search Year) to facilitate a career start for international talent in the Netherlands

The aim of the orientation year is to offer international talent an opportunity to start working as a highly skilled migrant or, for example, to start their own business. Under the new scheme, more groups will be eligible for the orientation year. In addition to graduates in the Netherlands or graduates studying at a world-class university abroad, the scheme can now also be used by researchers.

Multiple orientation years

It is no longer necessary to apply for an orientation year directly after graduation. Those interested in an orientation year may apply within three years after graduating or completing their research. This offers them the opportunity to first go back to their countries of origin and return to the Netherlands later to look for a job.

A further plus is that, under certain conditions, the orientation year may be applied for not once, but multiple times. Each time a graduate obtains a new degree or a researcher has completed new research, they may again apply for an orientation year.

No work permit requirement

The work permit requirement (TWV) and the points system that applied to the Orientation year for highly educated migrants have been fully revoked. This means that people may work without a work permit (TWV) during the orientation year and are permitted to do all kinds of work, from a temporary job or part-time job to a paid or unpaid internship.


The new scheme reflects the Netherlands' commitment to attracting international talent to the Netherlands and fostering their ties to the country.The orientation year is an attractive scheme both for graduates and researchers, on the one hand, and Dutch employers, on the other.

Source: EP-NUFFIC News