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‘Give foreign graduates more time to find a job’

THE NETHERLANDS. Corona crisis or not, students from outside Europe must find a job within a year after graduating. Otherwise they will be sent back to their own country, the ministry of Justice and Security confirmed.

These are tough times for those looking for a job. Because of the corona crisis, thousands of jobs are suddenly at risk and the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis believes that a recession is inevitable.

This puts students from outside the European Union in a difficult position. If they want to remain in the Netherlands after they have graduated, they can apply for a special residence permit: the so-called orientation year for graduates (in Dutch ‘zoekjaar hoogopgeleiden’). This gives them one year to find a job. If they do not succeed, they will unfortunately have to leave again.


But because of the corona crisis, many businesses are hesitant to take people on: they would prefer to wait until all this trouble is behind us. In addition, there are international graduates who are already in their ‘orientation year’, but because of the crisis have lost their present jobs.

Administrators and alumni from Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences have raised the alarm over this. Could the Immigration and Naturalisation Service not extend the orientation year from 1 to 2 years, the board asks in a letter to the ministers of Justice, Education and Social Affairs.


The board feels that talented non-EU students are not getting “a fair chance” to find a job in the Netherlands. “It is important not to lose this group, because they especially can contribute towards the recovery and strengthening of the Dutch economy.” Alumni from the private university of applied sciences have started a petition that has already been signed more than 500 times.

No leniency

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Security confirms that there is currently no leniency regulation for this group of international graduates. “The residence permit for the ‘orientation year for graduates’ can be issued for one year and cannot be extended on the basis of present regulations.”

HOP, Evelien Flink





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