Perhaps you have read or heard about the “orientation period” for a highly skilled migrant. But what does an orientation period exactly entail?

Orientation period
If the highly skilled migrant has become unemployed and is therefore no longer employed by a recognized sponsor, the orientation period comes into effect. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) does not make a distinction whether the highly skilled migrant has resigned or has been dismissed. The orientation period has been introduced to give the highly skilled migrant time to search for a new recognized sponsor as an employer. This orientation period applies for a maximum of 3 months, and it is essential that the current residence permit is valid during the entire orientation period. If the validity of the residence permit expires earlier, for example within 5 weeks, the orientation period will also end after 5 weeks. This is because the orientation period can never be longer than the validity of the residence permit.

Orientation year
The orientation period for a highly skilled migrant can easily be confused with the orientation year. However, these are two different things. The orientation year has been specially created for foreigners who have completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the Netherlands or at a top university abroad. The foreigner may apply for an orientation year in the Netherlands up to 3 years after completing that study.

During this orientation year, the immigrant has time to search for a recognized sponsor where they can be employed. It is therefore also possible that they start working for an organization that is not yet a recognized sponsor at the IND during this orientation year. However, it is important that they are hired as a highly skilled migrant before the expiration of the orientation year.

The foreigners who are hired as highly skilled migrants during or immediately following an orientation year are eligible for the special salary requirement. For 2023, this has been set at € 2631 gross per month excluding holiday pay. This lower salary requirement is valid for the rest of their career. So even once the highly skilled migrant turns 30, they may still meet this lower salary requirement.


We are happy to help with the residence permit process at the IND. Is your organization not yet a recognized sponsor? No problem, we can fully take care of this application process as well. You can contact us at and 00316 823 80 801.