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‘Allow foreign graduates more time to find work now’


Corona crisis or not, students from outside Europe have to find a job within a year after graduation. Otherwise they will be sent back to their own country. Recent graduates have started a petition to allow these students an extra year to find a job.

Read in Dutch

These are hard times for jobseekers. Because of the corona crisis, thousands of jobs are suddenly at risk and, according to the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, a recession is inevitable.

This puts students from outside the European Union in a difficult position. If they want to stay in the Netherlands after graduation, they can apply for a special residence permit: the so-called ‘orientation year highly educated persons’. This gives them one year to find a job. If they are unable to do so, they have to leave.

Because of the corona crisis, many companies are now reluctant to hire people: they prefer to wait until all the misery is over. In addition, there are international graduates who are already in their search year, but are losing their current jobs due to the crisis.

Directors and alumni of Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences sound the alarm. The Board asks the Ministers of Justice, Education and Social Affairs in a letter if the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) could extend the search year from 1 to 2 years.

Talented non-EU students now do “not have a fair chance" of finding a job in the Netherlands, according to the board. "It is important not to lose this group, because it is precisely them who can make a major contribution to the recovery and strengthening of the Dutch economy. Alumni of the private university of applied sciences have started a petition that has been signed over 500 times now.

No leniency
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Security confirms that there is currently no leniency scheme for this group of international graduates. "The residence permit for the ‘orientation year highly educated persons’ can be granted for one year and cannot yet be extended based on current regulations".

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