Staying in the Netherlands after your studies

Earlier in spring, a group of international graduates in the Netherlands launched a petition to extend the duration of the orientation year permit because of the economic impact of the coronavirus. However, Wouter Koolmees, the Minister for Social Affairs and Employment explained that such a change was not possible in the short term because the conditions for this type of residence permit are set out in Dutch law.

However, as international students and graduates are valued contributors to the Dutch economy, a compromise was proposed: extend the period for which graduates can apply for a highly skilled migrant procedure with the reduced salary criterion. Essentially, it means that international graduates will have three years from their graduation date to qualify for a highly skilled migrant procedure with the reduced salary threshold. For example:

  • If you are currently an orientation year permit holder and do not find a job within the duration of your residence permit, you can continue looking for work in the Netherlands from abroad. You will still be eligible to make use of the reduced salary threshold for the full three years after your graduation.
  • You can apply for the orientation year permit within three years of graduation – it need not be immediately after graduating. As such, you can leave the Netherlands after finishing your study, but then use the orientation year permit to return within three years.
  • If you find a suitable job without applying for the orientation year permit – but you are eligible to apply for it – you can make use of the reduced salary threshold for the highly skilled migrant procedure.

Salary criteria for highly skilled migrants in 2020

  • Highly skilled migrants 30 years or older: €4,612 gross per month
  • Highly skilled migrants younger than 30 years: €3,381 gross per month
  • Reduced salary criterion: €2,423 gross per month
  • European Blue Card: €5,403 gross per month

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