Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19, many Dutch companies have suspended their recruitment. Unfortunately, search year visa holders (also known as ‘zoekjaar’ in Dutch) are probably one of the most affected groups in this crisis. If you have not found a job, what are your options to continue staying in the Netherlands? This article will elaborate on various options that may help you stay in the Netherlands legally.

1. Make optimal use of the remaining time of your search year visa

If there are a few months left on your search year visa, please don’t give up. Make optimal use of the remaining time of your search year visa. Send out another job application letter and curriculum vitae. Maybe a small miracle will happen and you will get a job. If you are currently working for a Dutch company that does not have the status of recognised sponsorship, maybe you can tell your boss about the payroll option. In the following context, the payroll option will be further explained.

2. Partner Visa

Do you have partner in the Netherlands? If your partner has his/her own independent residence permit (such as, highly skilled migrant, search year or student), you may continue your residence in the Netherlands through changing your search year visa to a partner visa. The partner visa is open to both married and unmarried couples of the different or same gender. Depending on your partner’s nationality and residence title, you may be asked to provide the IND with different kinds of documents. A lot of people do not know that foreign students, researchers and search year visa holders can also sponsor a partner.

3. Student Visa

Going back to school is a practical way to extend your stay in the Netherlands. Due to the outbreak of the COVID 19 virus, a lot of Dutch universities are seriously concerned that they will not be able to recruit enough international students this year. This might be good news for you. Why? First, the fewer the applicants, the greater the chance of acceptance. Although a lot of universities are saying on their website that the deadline for admission has passed, my advice is that you should give them a call or send them an email. There is a chance that they still have some vacant places. Furthermore, as many prospective international students are stuck in their home country (due to their local lockdown), you may have a higher chance of getting a scholarship from the university. This is due to the fact that the financial budget is probably still there. This year, you will have fewer competitors for the scholarship as well.

4. Startup Visa

If you have innovative business ideas and are eager to become an entrepreneur, you may be qualified to obtain a start-up visa as an entrepreneur. However, you need to get support from a recognized facilitator. With the support from the recognized facilitator, you can obtain a start-up visa, which is valid for one year initially. After one year, if your facilitator still supports you, your visa can be further extended for another 2 years. However, please be aware the name ‘start up’ can be rather misleading. Many people mistakenly believe that they can find a few random businessmen or businesswomen to be their facilitators, as long as their business idea is innovative. In fact, our opinion is that the government should better change the name of the visa to ‘facilitator visa’. In practice, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs pay much more attention to the reliability of your facilitator (instead of the innovativeness of your business idea). If your random facilitator is not recognised by the Ministry, your chance of getting an approval is limited. It takes time to find a recognised facilitator and it also takes time for the facilitator to get acquainted with and get committed to helping you out.  

5. Payroll Company

If you have found a Dutch company willing to hire you but this Dutch company itself does not have the status of recognised sponsorship, you may ask the Dutch company to consider hiring you through a payroll company. On the basis of Dutch labour laws, if you are employed by a payroll company, the payroll company can second you to work at another company that does not have the status of recognised sponsorship. Between the payroll company and the ‘de facto’ company, a service agreement will be signed. The payroll company will sign a labour agreement with you. Through doing so, the ‘de facto’ company will pay service fees to the payroll company. The payroll company will pay out your salary after deducting social premiums and her service fees. The payroll company needs to be responsible for you and responsible to the IND. The payroll company needs to take care of your interests as an employee. The payroll company should also inform the IND about all your relevant changes in a timely manner.

6. Ask your company to apply for the status of recognised sponsorship

If you are currently working for a company that does not have the status of recognised sponsorship and the remaining time of your current permit is sufficient, you can ask your current boss to apply for the status of recognised sponsorship. If the company was founded many years ago and it has good tax records, the chance of getting the status is rather high. Nevertheless, please be aware that it takes the IND about three months to process the application for recognised sponsorship. If the IND have questions about the company, the IND can ask for additional supporting documents from the company. This will delay the processing time. In this situation, you’d better ask the company to look for a payroll company to help you bridge this short period.

7. European Blue Card

The European blue card is meant for highly qualified migrant workers. Standing in contrast to the highly skilled migrant visa, the blue card scheme is arranged at European level, pursuant to the EU Blue Card Directive, and it does not require your employer to have the status of recognized sponsorship. Therefore, it can be procedurally easier to obtain a European blue card. However, the income requirement is €5403 gross per month (excluding 8% holiday allowance).

8. PhD

If you are interested in doing academic research, you can look for a promotor (ie. a professor or associate professor). They may be interested in admitting you as a PhD student. The traditional PhD positions at a Dutch university (also known as ‘aio’ in Dutch) come with a decent salary. Nevertheless, if you cannot find a paid PhD position, you can also self-finance your PhD position. Under the EU directive 2016/801, as a self-financed PhD student, you can get the same scientific researcher visa. This visa allows you to work as an entrepreneur and as an employee without a work permit.

9. Internship

In April 2018, the Dutch Minister of Social Affairs changed one of the Ministerial Policies. People who graduated within the last 2 years can ask for a ‘single permit’ for the purpose of doing an internship. The internship needs to be directly related to your study field. You will need to demonstrate that the learning elements of this internship are the most salient points. The purpose of the internship may not be profit-making for the internship company. Also, you need to receive a decent internship compensation. The ‘single permit’ for doing an internship can be issued for a maximum period of 12 months.

10. Procedural Approaches

As the last resort, Mynta Law can go through various legal procedures to extend your legal stay in the Netherlands. The Dutch Immigration Act stipulates that the applicants have legal residence in the course of the pending legal procedures. For the time being, you can exercise your rights as a legal resident, including continuing to look for a new job. Through different legal procedures, you can obtain an additional period of three to six months or longer.

Should you have any questions about your visa options, please feel free to contact Mynta Law.

Tel: 070 205 1162 or 070 205 1160

E-mail: info@mynta.nl