Staying in the Netherlands after graduation: what options do you have?

International graduates who would like to persue a career in the Netherlands can apply for a search year permit. But because of the corona crisis, there might be fewer opportunities.
Posted by Nuffic

The impact of COVID-19 is felt throughout the globe and has also had an effect on the Dutch labour market and economy. International graduates with a Bachelors-, Masters- or PhD-degree are eligible to apply for a 1-year Search Year permit. During this year, they don’t need a work permit and are allowed to take out any job. But currently there are less vacancies, fewer networking opportunities and it's harder to find a job before the permit expires.


That is why, last April, a group of international graduates started a petition to extend the search year. In a written response to questions from the Dutch Parliament, Minister Koolmees for Social Affairs and Employment explained that it is not possible to extend the search year as the conditions for this residence permit are entrenched in law, and changing them is an uncertain and lengthy process.

The government underlined their appreciation for the contribution of international students and highly skilled migrants and decided to extend the period for which graduates are eligible for a highly skilled migrant residence permit with a lower salary criterium.

Information overview

Following these developments, RVO, IND and Nuffic have developed an information sheet for international students. The information sheet sets out different options available for them to stay in the Netherlands after graduation.

Download the flyer: Important message regarding staying in the Netherlands after graduation.