Highly educated foreign nationals who have graduated abroad or in the Netherlands can obtain a residence permit with a maximum term of 1 year in the Netherlands in order to find a job as a highly skilled migrant or to start an innovative company. This scheme can ensure that foreign exceptional talents are more easily admitted to the Netherlands. 

Eligible applicants can apply for this residence permit within three years of completing a study or research project. All conditions the foreign national must meet are named here: Orientation Year Highly Educated Persons

The residence permit for the orientation year for highly educated persons is valid for a maximum of 1 year. It is not possible to extend the validity of this residence permit. 

​For students completing several programmes of study, the orientation year can be granted after each programme of study or scientific research. Therefore applying for another orientation year at a later date, if this is done on the basis of another completed programme of study or scientific research, is possible. This programme of study or scientific research must have been completed after the previous orientation year.

The criteria for the Orientation Year is different to the criteria of the highly skilled migrant (i.e. salary expectations),  making this type of residence permit more accessible to highly educated foreign nationals.

Work permit

During the orientation year, the foreign nationals are granted free access to the Dutch labour market without any restrictions (no work permit required). They are allowed to accept any (temporary) job, including internships (paid or unpaid), to work as a freelancer or to start own company. Their family members will also have free access to the Dutch labour market during the orientation year, without restrictions.

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