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OnderwijsInternational studentsWorking in the Netherlands

Working in the Netherlands after graduation

If you have completed a Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD in the Netherlands, it is sometimes possible to extend your stay for a maximum of 12 months. This time can be used to find a job in the Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant (‘kennismigrant’). If you attain a job as a highly skilled migrant, you might be entitled to another special kind of residence permit. During these first 12 months you are allowed to work. However, there are two types of regulations: one for graduated Bachelor’s or Master’s students and one for students having completed a Master’s or PhD. The latter regulations are more strict than the former.  

With a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree

When you have completed your Bachelor’s or Master’s in the Netherlands you might be eligible for the ‘seeking work after graduation’ procedure. This procedure will change your residence permit for study in a residence permit for a ‘search year’. This will allow you to remain in the Netherlands for a maximum of 12 months after the date of your graduation. During this year you are free to work in the Netherlands and your employer won’t have to apply for a work permit for you. You will need a Citizen Service Number, which you will receive after registering at the City Hall of the municipality where you live. To start the procedure you will have to make an appointment with the regional office of the IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service).  

With a Master’s degree or a PhD

When you have a Master’s or PhD degree from a Dutch university or a university in the top 150 of the Times Higher Education Supplement ranking or the Jiao Tong Sanghai University ranking, you might be eligible for the admission scheme for highly educated persons. Whether you meet all the criteria depends on whether you are able to attain a certain amount of points that are given, for example for your degree and speaking Dutch or English.

If you are already in the Netherlands you will have to apply for a ‘regular residence permit for a highly educated migrant seeking employment’. This will allow you to stay in the Netherlands for a maximum of 12 months within three years after attaining your degree. You are able to work during this year. However, your employer will have to apply for a work permit for you. You will need a Citizen Service number, which you will receive after registering at the City Hall of the municipality where you live.

To start the procedure you will have to make an appointment with the regional office of the IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service). When you are abroad, you will need to apply for a provisional residence permit first to be able to travel into the Netherlands. Only when you have arrived in the Netherlands will you be able to apply for the ‘regular residence permit for a highly educated migrant seeking employment’.

Please note:

-You can get only one (so either the one or the other) of these permits once and they will not be prolonged.

-The criteria mentioned here are the main criteria, this is not a complete overview.

  • More detailed information in English on both procedures is on the Nuffic website

  • For more detailed information in Dutch on the procedure for students who have completed Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in the Netherlands check the IND website
  • For more detailed information in Dutch on the procedure for students who have completed Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in the Netherlands check the IND website
  • For more detailed information in Dutch on the procedure for students who have completed Master’s or PhD degree in the Netherlands or at selected universities check the IND website

If you do find a job as a highly skilled migrant, which is subject to many other regulations, you will need to change your residence permit again.

  • For more information on becoming a highly skilled migrant in the Netherlands in Enlish check the IND website

Last modified:04 January 2018 11.53 a.m.