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The basics
THE Netherlands: Career Prospects

Finding a graduate career in Netherlands for Singaporeans

Our guide to finding a graduate career in Netherlands for Singaporeans


The Netherlands has well-developed industrial sectors, high technological aptitude and a unique trade position in Europe, which makes it a much desirable place to start off a career after graduating from university.


How do you go about making arrangements to remain in the country and what are your prospects as an international student? Read on to find out more:



Next to the USA, the Netherlands is the second largest exporters of agro-food products. In fact, the sector on its own contributes to 10% of the Dutch economy. Therefore, if you are a graduate in food science and technology, environmental studies and agriculture, you could probably be one of the 660,000 people who are employed in this sector. Those in marketing, management or engineering could also find positions within this field.


Apart from agriculture, another sector that is in demand in the Netherlands is in creative industries. The Dutch government is investing in architecture, design, gaming and fashion, so students in these fields may be able to find plenty of jobs on the market. It is also interesting knowledge that 66% of the people working in this sector are self-employed, and 83% of the professionals in this sector work within communications and interactive design.


The other sector that is in demand in the Netherlands is in the engineering sector. The Dutch reported a shortage of workers in the sector, with international companies such as Philips Electronics, GasTerra and Royal Dutch Shell being key employers.



To remain in the Netherlands after graduation, you will have to apply for an extension known as either the ‘zoekjaar’ or ‘orientation year’. Once you have found yourself a job, the employer will then apply for a work permit for you. However, take note that the zoekjaar is non-extendable, so you will have to secure yourself a job in time. There is also a minimum salary requirement of 27 566 Euros per annum. This figure is updated on a yearly basis, so it may be best to find out more from the nearest IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service) office.


You will need to submit your university qualifications or statement of intent to graduate, an application form from the IND website, a passport photo and 660 Euros application fee for the zoekjaar extension.


The processing times can be rather lengthy, so do apply well in advance, as this can take up to 6 months though the zoekjaar itself will not begin until your graduation date. It is advisable to apply as soon as you receive clearance to graduate.


Once your employer has offered you a position, you will most likely be transferred to a highly skilled migrant visa, which will last as long as your contract, depending on your employer. They will also have to declare that there is no Dutch or EU national available with similar qualifications or a better candidate than you are.


In 2014, the minimum salary for those below 30 years old is 2968 Euros and for those above 30, it’s 4049 Euros. Remember that as an expat, your employer has to be registered with the IND for you to be eligible to be working for them.


For more information regarding working visas in the Netherlands, click here.



Remember that the Dutch are exceptionally proficient in English, so you may be at a disadvantage if you are unable to speak Dutch. However, there are certain websites dedicated to expats such as iamexpat that advertise English-speaking jobs.


You could also look up a list of companies that you’d like to work for and check out whether there are any suitable positions for you. Dutch companies also make a note of accepting speculative applications, so do call them up if you are interested in applying for a position with them. They do not consider this as being pushy, but this is seen as showing interest and taking initiative in your respective future employer. Do also have a few questions at hand to show your engagement and interest.


Dutch universities are of course, equipped with helping students find a job. Universities such as the Delft University of Technology and VU University in Amsterdam have efficient career centres dedicated to providing students with information.


While you are in the Netherlands, it may also be a good idea to take up some conversational Dutch to enhance your prospects. You could even ask your university if they do organize such courses, as well as ask them for advice on how to approach the Dutch business culture. The more you could equip yourself before entering the job market, the better!


For more information about studying in the Netherlands, go to www.hotcourses.com.sg/netherlands