Working in the Netherlands after Graduation: Work Visa, Salaries, Job Prospects

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    The number of international students attracted towards the Netherlands increased from 76,606 in 2017 to 85,955 in 2018. Their population has been on the rise due to a number of reasons. One of them is increasing jobs in the Netherlands.

    With the consistent employment rate of 78.4%, the labour force of the country has grown from 8.89 million in 2019 to 8.94 million in 2020. The average salary earned by an employee in the Netherlands also rose from 9,170 EUR in 2016 to 10,100 EUR per month in 2019. 

    Over one-third of the international students coming to study in the Netherlands stay back after graduation to look for a job. In an attempt to increase this retention rate, the government has extended the time period of applying to Zoekjaar (orientation year visa) for up to three years after completion of the program.

    However, during the one year stay allowed via Zoekjaar, international students have to arrange for financial support themselves till they find a job. No funding or sponsorship is provided by the government.

    Top Jobs after Graduation

    Field of Profession Average Monthly Salary (in EUR)

    Accounting Manager

    Administrative Assistant 5,670
    Creative Director 10,300
    Service Advisor 12,200
    Architect 9,450
    Bank Branch Manager 14,600
    Business Analyst 11,600
    Construction Project Manager 11,700

    Job Opportunities in the Netherlands after Graduation

    The Netherlands is home a number of multinational corporations like Shell, KPMG, Philips, Heineken, and many more. Besides these, it has regional headquarters of more than 3000 MNCs.

    The maximum working hours in the Netherlands are 45 hours a week with flexible work hour options like four days a week. Highly skilled migrants also receive tax benefits like 30% tax ruling, health care, reimbursements, etc.

    Getting a job in the Netherlands after graduation depends upon a number of factors as discussed below -

    • Level of education –  Higher the level of qualification you have, better the job opportunities you receive. The Dutch are highly intellectual people who like to employ students with extensive knowledge in their chosen field of profession. An up-gradation from bachelors to masters degree increases salary by 29%.
    • Field of study –  The Netherlands is renowned for its technological and economic advancements. It is also renowned for its engineering and management programs. Students from these fields of study get employed easily and are also paid better as compared to students from the fields of law or hospitality.
    • Location –  The location plays a big role in the number of employment opportunity available for students. Major cities like Amsterdam or The Hague, which are home to a bigger corporate market, have more employment opportunities as compared to Leiden or Wageningen.
    • Language – Although, the official language of the Netherlands is Dutch spoken by the almost whole population, 90% to 93% people also converse in English. However, knowing the official language will obviously give you an advantage while looking for a job. Other major languages spoken in the Netherlands are German and French.

    Average Salary in the Netherlands by City

    City Average Monthly Salary (in EUR)
    Groningen 10,100
    Utrecht 10,900
    Amsterdam 11,500
    Rotterdam 11,300
    Eindhoven 10,700
    Tilburg 10,500

    Work Visa and Permit after Graduation

    After the completion of your program, you can extend your stay in the Netherlands for up to 12 months. You need to change the status of your visa to work visa and may also require to get a permit.

    The type of work permit you need depends on the level of education you have completed at a university in the Netherlands. If you have completed a bachelor’s or Master’s program, you do not require a work permit. If, however, you have completed Master’s or Ph.D., you need to get a work permit.

    In the case of a Bachelor’s or Master’s program

    If you have completed or are about to complete your graduation from a Dutch higher education institution, then you are eligible for a zoekjaar or search year.  You will have 12 months to look for a job in the Netherlands during your search year.

    You need to apply for a change in the purpose of stay in your residence permit from study to search year. If you get employed within the duration of the search year, you do not need a work permit for the rest of the duration of the one year period.

    Post search year, your employer needs to apply for a work permit at IND on your behalf.

    In case of a Master’s or Ph.D. program

    If you have graduated or are about to graduate from a master’s or Ph.D. program from a Dutch university, then you need to apply for “residence permit for highly educated migrant seeking employment”

    You will be allowed to stay for a duration of 12 months after receiving your residence permit.  If you get employed within this time period, you will need a work permit to continue working. Your employer needs to apply for the work permit on your behalf.

    How to apply for the residence permit extension?

    You can only apply for the extension of your residence permit 3 months before the expiration of your current residence permit.

    To change your residence you need to -

    1. Apply online through your DigiD account
    2. Upload all the required documents
    3. Pay the application fee of 174 EUR
    4. Immigration and Naturalisation Services (IND) will send you a confirmation email on receiving your application
    5. Once your residence permit is ready, IND will send you a letter informing you to collect your residence permit
    6. Make an appointment with IND online within 4 months after receiving the letter
    7. You will receive an appointment code on the registered email ID
    8. Carry the following documents to the IND desk to collect your new residence permit
      • Your passport and travel documents
      • Appointment code
      • Current/expired residence permit
    9. The residence permit will be issued after document verification

    You can submit the application for change in residence permit via post. Download the application form from IND website. Send the completed the application form along with the applicable charges to IND desk. The rest of the process is same as the online application.

    Registration with the Municipality

    • After you collect the residence permit, make an appointment with the city hall of the local municipality
    • Register with the Personal Record Database by providing your residence permit
    • You will receive a Citizen Security Number on successful registration.

    Getting a Health Insurance

    Once you get full-time employment in the Netherlands, it is compulsory to take out at least a basic Dutch Health Insurance( basisverzekering ) within four months of registering at the city hall

    If you fail to get one within 6 months, the Dutch authorities can levy a fine of 410.49 EUR. If you haven’t taken a health insurance even after 9 months of being issued the fine, the Dutch authorities will enroll you for one and deduct the premium from your salary.

    The following companies provide the basic health insurance for highly skilled migrants -

    • LoonZorg (No mandatory excess)
    • ONVZ
    • OHRA
    • UnitedConsumers
    • Besured
    • Salland
    • ZorgDirect

    The basic health insurance has a premium of 385 EUR and covers the following medical expenditure -

    • Doctor’s appointment (huisarts)
    • Hospital visit and stay, surgery and emergency treatment (ziekenhuis)
    • Ambulance services and patient transport (ambulancevervoer)
    • Medicine prescriptions (medicijnen)
    • Blood tests (bloedonderzoek)
    • Dental care for children under 18 years (tandarts)
    • Limited dental care for adults over 18, restricted to dental surgery, dental x-rays
    • Mental health care (geestelijke gezondheidszorg)
    • Appointments with medical specialists such as dermatologists, allergists or internal specialists (medisch specialist)
    • Pregnancy, birth care and midwifery services (zwangerschaps- en geboortezorg)
    • Maternity care (kraamzorg)
    • Handicapped care (gehandicaptenzorg)
    • Aged care (ouderenzorg)
    • Nursing on location (wijkverpleging)
    • Therapeutic services like speech therapy, occupational therapy, and diet advice
    • Physiotherapy for chronic disorders(fysiotherapie)


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