Renewed orientation year offers international talent more opportunities

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Publication date Oct 13, 2016 09:20 AM

Since 1 March 2016, the Orientation year for graduates and the Orientation year for highly educated migrants have been merged into a single, improved scheme. The renewed Orientation year for highly educated persons offers the best of two worlds. The criteria of the scheme have been relaxed, offering international talent more opportunities to look for work in the Netherlands.

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The aim of the orientation year is to offer international talent an opportunity to start working as a highly skilled migrant or, for example, to start their own business. Under the new scheme, more groups will be eligible for the orientation year. In addition to graduates in the Netherlands or graduates studying at a world-class university abroad, the scheme can now also be used by researchers.

Multiple orientation years

It is no longer necessary to apply for an orientation year directly after graduation. Those interested in an orientation year may apply within three years after graduating or completing their research. This offers them the opportunity to first go back to their countries of origin and return to the Netherlands later to look for a job.

A further plus is that, under certain conditions, the orientation year may be applied for not once, but multiple times. Each time a graduate obtains a new degree or a researcher has completed new research, they may again apply for an orientation year.

No work permit requirement

The work permit requirement (TWV) and the points system that applied to the Orientation year for highly educated migrants have been fully revoked. This means that people may work without a work permit (TWV) during the orientation year and are permitted to do all kinds of work, from a temporary job or part-time job to a paid or unpaid internship.


The new scheme reflects the Netherlands' commitment to attracting international talent to the Netherlands and fostering their ties to the country.The orientation year is an attractive scheme both for graduates and researchers, on the one hand, and Dutch employers, on the other. 

This year gives both parties the chance to explore the options of finding or offering a job as highly skilled migrant (with the reduced salary criterion) or to set-up a start-up business, for example.

For the application form and more procedural information on the new orientation year, go to You can also find up-to-date information about the orientation year in tools such as Pathfinder and the Employer toolkit.

last modified Oct 13, 2016 09:20 AM