What is the change? The Netherlands has launched a new Orientation Year for Highly Educated Persons program that allows non-EU nationals to apply to live in the country and look for work within three years of college graduation.

What does the change mean? The program is available to graduates of Dutch universities, higher professional education (HBO) programs or top universities abroad. It provides more time (three years instead of one) for non-EU nationals to apply once they complete their studies. It is also available to anyone who has held a Dutch residence permit as a scientific researcher within the past three years.

  • Implementation time frame: March 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Orientation Year for Highly Educated Persons residence permits.
  • Who is affected: Non-EU graduates of Dutch universities, HBO programs or top foreign universities; people who have held Dutch residence permits as scientific researchers within the past three years.
  • Business impact: Officials hope the program will benefit the Dutch economy by making it easier for highly educated non-EU nationals to live in the Netherlands while they find work or start a business.

Background: The new program replaces the old Orientation Year for Highly Educated Persons and the Orientation Year for Graduates with a single scheme, and allows individuals to work in the Netherlands without restriction. The permits expire after a year and are not extendable. They can be applied for each time a non-EU national completes a bachelor’s program (in the Netherlands) or a master’s or Ph.D. program (in the Netherlands or at one of the top 200 universities abroad). The list of top universities abroad is compiled from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Universities. The program is also available to non-EU nationals who have held residence permits as scientific researchers within the past three years.

BAL Analysis: The new program provides those who have graduated in the Netherlands the chance to return to their home country after completing their studies before returning to the Netherlands to look for and obtain work. The changes may benefit Dutch employers in retaining and recruiting highly educated individuals.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in The Netherlands. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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