Ease of work visa after studying in the Netherlands

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Studying in The Netherlands is a beautiful experience and it is no wonder that students wish to stay in the country for exploring job opportunities. Though it might seem challenging initially, it is not impossible for a graduate from a Dutch institute for higher education, especially technical universities, to find a job that they love.


The search year visa

After studying in the Netherlands for their graduation, graduates can apply for a search year visa to look for work solely in The Netherlands. This visa is aimed at non-European students who wish to look for work in Holland and it gives them the opportunity to take a whole year to find a job. This is done keeping in mind the stress of graduation and the shrinking job market that makes it harder to find an employment opportunity. This visa is valid for twelve months after the graduation date and it cannot be extended. Additionally, it acts as a Schengen visa and you can use the permit to do some travelling within Europe after graduation.

See more:  Unforgettable student experiences of Holland


How to apply?

The application process for a search year visa is simple but time consuming. It takes a minimum of three months for the visa to be processed and the immigration authorities have up to six months for the decision.  Hence, it is advised to apply for search year visa as soon as you know the date for your graduation.



The following criteria have to be met to apply for a search year visa

  • You have not previously applied for a search year visa
  • You studied in The Netherlands on a student permit (residence permit to study)
  • You have valid travel documents like passport
  • Your diploma is from a Dutch university and is not older than a year
  • You are not a danger to the public order

See more: This is what alumni say about studying in Holland



The cost of applying for a search year visa is €600. During the visa processing time, the applicant is not allowed to leave the country unless he/she affixes a sticker on the passport from the immigration office that allows  the applicant to travel abroad. This sticker costs an additional €150.


Documents needed

The following documents are needed to start the application process for a search year visa

  • A copy of the diploma certificate or intent to graduate
  • A completed application form to change the residence permit
  • A recent passport photo (not older than 6 months)

See more: Pros and Cons of studying in Europe


Where to apply?

The application form and other documents have to be submitted to the nearest Immigration & Naturalisation Service (IND). Before proceeding with the application, it is better to call the IND and ask for an appointment to submit the documents. Your finger prints will also be taken when you submit the application.



The search year visa not only lets you look for job opportunities but also enables you to start working on the same visa if you find a job but within the expiry date. This provides both the employer and the employee with the opportunity to test the waters before embarking on a long term commitment. However, this permit cannot be extended after the expiry date and the employer has to take the responsibility of getting a work permit.

See more: Breaking the Myth : Germany is only good for Mechanical and Automobile engineering


At the end of the search year

If the candidate has found a job at the end of the search year, then there are two possibilities

  1. If the job is highly paid with a gross salary of more than €26,605, then the candidate becomes eligible to be a highly skilled migrant worker. The employer has to pay a fee of €750 and must be registered with the government to employ highly skilled workers.
  2. If the job is not highly paid, then the candidate becomes a labour migrant and the employer not only has to apply for a work permit that costs up to €750 but also justify to the IND that no Dutch or EU citizen can fill your position.

There is also the possibility that the candidate lives with an EU citizen in an exclusive and sustainable relationship. This means that the candidate becomes a dependent and will be considered as a citizen of the EU. This puts the applicant in a different position and he/she becomes eligible for working and living rights. However, it is first necessary to pass a series of tests to provide authenticity to your relationship as there is scope for fraud in this aspect.

If at the end of the search year, you have not managed to find a job, then unfortunately you will be asked to leave the country. However, it is also possible to come at a later stage if you have found employment but your employer has to provide all the necessary paperwork beforehand and you will need to obtain the visa from your home country.

Students should try and get some experience before graduating which gives then an edge over others during job search. If you are a student studying in the Netherlands or  want to pursue an internship in Netherlands, Check out our internship opportunities in the Netherlands at  WeMakeScholars.com

Article is written with some inputs from a brochure by TU Delft Career Center.


#StaffPick: Top Scholarships in Netherlands


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I am passionate about making this world a better place to live in and I am a firm believer in the equality of the human race. I specialized in Hydrology and I dream of making our planet water secure. Writing is my first love and I am always looking for excuses to write. I look forward to being a part of WeMakeScholars and assist students who aspire to dream high and study further.


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