Migration Law

Search Year for Highly Educated People

Search for work after study, promotion or scientific research

You have graduated or gained a doctorate or have done scientific research and you want to find a job or start your own business. You live abroad or you are still in the Netherlands. You need a residence permit for the search year for highly educated people. What are the conditions and how does the application process work?

Different conditions apply to persons with the nationality of an EU / EEA country or Switzerland and their family members.


There are a number of conditions that apply to everyone. In addition, you must meet the following conditions:

You have not previously had a residence permit to search for work after study, promotion or scientific research on the basis of completing the same study program or the same PhD trajectory or carrying out the same scientific research. Have you completed various studies or PhD programs or carried out scientific studies? After completing each study, after each promotion and after carrying out a scientific research, a residence permit for a search year can be issued. This study, this PhD trajectory or this scientific research must then have been completed or performed after your previous search year.

You have completed in the past 3 years:
an accredited Bachelor’s or Master’s degree program in the Netherlands; or
a postgraduate course of at least one academic year (minimum 10 months) in the Netherlands; or
a program in the context of the Specific Cultural Policy Act; or
a program in the context of the development cooperation policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; or
a master’s degree in the framework of an Erasmus Mundus Masters Course; or
a higher education program designated by ministerial regulation; or
scientific research at any time. In the Netherlands, you had a residence permit for the purpose of scientific research within the meaning of Directive 2005/71 / EC or a residence permit for the purpose of employment as a highly skilled migrant for the conduct of scientific research; or
a master’s program, a PhD program or a postgraduate course at a designated foreign educational institution * or you have a PhD and you have:
a minimum score of 6.0 from the International English Language Testing System; or
a minimum score of 6.0 in an English language test as included in the Code of Conduct for International Higher Education Students; or
a diploma, certificate or document as referred to in Article 2.3, first paragraph, of the Civic Integration Decree; or
the master’s program, the PhD program or the postgraduate course followed in English or Dutch.

Designated foreign educational institutions are the educational institutions that, at the time of graduation, are included in the top 200 of the general rankings or in the top 200 of the available rankings per discipline – which correspond to the field in which you graduated or obtained a PhD from:

Times Higher Education World University Rankings
QS World University Rankings
Academic Ranking of World Universities

Do you have questions? Feel free to contact us, we are happy to help you!