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

The Netherlands has an employment rate of 96% which is among the highest in the world. 84% of the international students studying in the Netherlands get employed before the completion of their programs while 92% are employed within 6 months after graduation.

International students seeking employment in the Netherlands are termed as highly skilled/educated migrants. The country has a retention rate of 71% i.e. 71% of the total international students choose to stay in the Netherlands to work. 122,000 international students are enrolled in the Dutch universities as of 2017.

Most of the universities have “student career centers” and “student job board” to assist their students in seeking employment during and after their graduation.

Top Jobs after Graduation

Field of ProfessionAverage Annual Salary (in USD)
Medical and Health Care96,948
Engineering94,980
Business and Management93,721
IT and Telecommunication78,138
Public Sector71,133
Law65,934
Education60,695
Hospitality and Tourism29,377

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 40 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. A master’s or doctoral degree from a Dutch university is highly valued in the professional field in the Netherlands.
  • 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 – 94% population of the Netherlands speak fluent English. However, the more language you know the more valuable you become. 92% Dutch population speaks at least 3 languages. Learning basic Dutch as well as some additional language immensely increases the chance of getting employed in the Netherlands.

Salary Trends in the Netherlands

Average Salary by Education

Level of EducationAverage Annual Salary(in USD)
Doctoral77,396
Masters75,802
Bachelors70,476
Certificate/Diploma63,694

Average Salary by City

CityAverage Annual Salary (in USD)
The Hague80,028
Utrecht76,881
Amsterdam73,789
Rotterdam69,215
Eindhoven67,450
Tilburg65,913

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 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 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 azoekjaar 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 USD 404.66
  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 theapplication 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 USD 450.55. 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 USD 113.99 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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