Netherlands: Foreign graduates to be eligible for new work permit program

On or after March 1, 2016, two visa programs for recent foreign graduates, the Orientation Year program and the Orientation Year Highly-Educated program, will be combined into one visa scheme, called the Orientation Year Permit. The new program will allow eligible foreign graduates to apply for a work and residence permit up to three years following graduation. Scientific researchers are also going to be eligible for the permit.

The program will allow participants to work and reside in the Netherlands for one unextendable year.

Eligibility Criteria for New Program

Eligible foreign graduates include those who have completed at least one of the following criteria within the three years prior to their application:

  • Received a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in the Netherlands;
  • Held a Dutch residence permit as a scientific researcher, or worked as a scientific researcher with a residence permit as a knowledge migrant;
  • Completed a PhD program lasting at least twelve months;
  • Completed the Dutch development aid policy program, Erasmus Mundus Master’s course or a program under the Law of Specific Culture Policy;
  • Completed a Master’s or PhD program of at least twelve months at a foreign institution ranked by specific accreditation program; or
  • Completed another educational program approved by a ministerial regulation.

Those who already possess an Orientation Year program permit or would fulfil the requirements of the new Orientation Year Permit only have to meet the lowest salary threshold of EUR 2,228 per month to be eligible for a Knowledge Migrant Permit following their stay under the Orientation Year Permit. 

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

The new program will allow foreign graduates to return to their home country before returning to the Netherlands to look for employment.

Interested applicants should contact their immigration professional to discuss the application process.

Stuart Beaty

Celsium, Birmingham, UK