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The basics
THE Netherlands: Career Prospects - Must read

Finding a graduate career in the Netherlands for Malaysians

A guide to post-study career options in the Netherlands for students from Malaysia.

Netherlands work

The Netherlands is a culturally rich and innovative country and with its wide variety of industrial sectors and unique trade position, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider staying on after finishing your studies. Read our overview of your post-study options as an international student to help make your options clearer.


What’s the graduate market like?

The Netherlands is a popular place for foreign investors and with its particularly strong agricultural, engineering and creative sectors, the country is one of the world’s largest exporters of agro-food products. Over 660,000 people are employed in agriculture and this is good news for students of Food Science and Technology, Environmental Studies, Power and Energy Engineering and Agriculture. Students with transferable skills in fields such as Marketing, Management or Engineering could similarly find a position within this field.


Students who specialise in the creative arts will find lots of job opportunities in Architecture, Design, Gaming and Fashion. Engineering students are also highly sought.


Can I stay?

If you’d like to stay and work in the Netherlands after your studies, you’ll need to apply for a work permit. Your employer will need to apply on your behalf, which means that you’ll need to have secured a job to be eligible.


If you don’t already have a job at the time of your graduation, depending on your skill level, you can apply for a sort of extension year, in which you’re able to search for a job. Once you’ve secured one, you can apply for a work permit and remain in the Netherlands for as long as your employment contract specifies.


Search year and orientation year

If your university is NVAO accredited and your qualification is either at Bachelor or Masters level, you can apply for what is called a ‘zoekjaar.’ This will enable you to remain in the country and search for a job in the year following your graduation.


You’ll not be able to extend your ‘zoekjaar’ once the 12 months are up. You’ll need to have secured employment and successfully applied for another type of permit in this time.


Highly skilled migrant

Once you’ve been offered a job in the Netherlands from a registered employer, they’ll be able to put you forward for work permit as a highly skilled migrant. Usually, graduates who have secured employment whilst on their zoekjaar or orientation year will make the transition to this work permit.


For a Dutch employer to sponsor you, they must be able to prove that there is no Dutch or EU national available with the same qualifications or better able to complete the job than you. This is called the Labour Market Test, and serves as a declaration of your value to the business and Dutch economy.


To be eligible, your salary will need to be of a minimum level that is subject to change from year to year. Applications generally take about 5 weeks to process.


How can I find a job?

You’ll be at a disadvantage if you can’t speak Dutch. It’s worth sharpening your Dutch skills. Look up job search portals and resources or enlist the help of an employment agency or recruitment service.


Can my university help?

Dutch universities are helpful when it comes to assisting graduates with jobs. Seek advice on writing your CV and tips on important interview techniques. Make an appointment with your career advisor and find out more about the Dutch business culture so that you’re clued up about the dos and don’ts.


Do you feel ready to tackle life after graduation? Browse for courses in the Netherlands now.  

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