With more than 1,150 international course programmes conducted in the English language, with over 55 higher education universities, the Netherlands is the largest provider of English-language course programmes in Europe. The Netherlands has furthermore been hailed for its ground-breaking Problem-Based Learning, or ‘PBL’ pedagogy that instils in students the capacity to analyse and solve real problems independently, through a mix of theory and application, teamwork and self-study and systematic challenging of the student’s cognitive faculties. To be eligible for a study visa to the Netherlands, one must fulfil certain mandatory conditions.

Primarily, you should be accepted by a recognised university or university of applied sciences as a student to a full-time accredited day program. This allows the concerned university to become your sponsor. All recognised educational institutions are listed in the Public Register of Recognised Sponsors. Secondly, you need to show sufficient income to support your education, living expenses etc. for the duration of your study. Further, you submit an undertaking to obtain at least 50% of the required credits for each academic year. Lastly, if you score below an IELTS Band 6, you can have a one-time maximum period of 12 months to prepare for your studies, through an English or Dutch course. Having stated the minimum requirements needed to get admission to a Dutch university, you would have to fill the online application to schedule an interview for your MVV at the closest Dutch embassy in your country.

Working in the Netherlands as an international student

On the back of your residence permit, it ought to say ‘Tewerkstellingsvergunning (TWV) vereist voor arbeid van bijkomende aard, andere arbeid in loondienst niet toegestaan’. Students need to ascertain whether they have been given this at the time of visa issuance or not.  You may only work in paid employment, if your employer has a TWV for you. You are then allowed to work for a maximum of 16 hours a week or full-time during the summer months of June, July and August. This also means that you must adhere to the legal requirements to maintain your student status in the Netherlands, barring which you could receive a fine or a penalty or even, both.

You are allowed to work in the Netherlands as a self-employed person (without a TWV). To do so, it is important that you continue to meet the requirements for your residence permit for study. Many students choose innovative ways of dealing with shoestring student expense budgets by opening pop up eateries, playing an instrument in a location or even, selling Indian fast food as a novelty, all of which come under the umbrella of being self-employed. If you are planning to take up an internship in the Netherlands, you do not need a TWV if the internship is relevant to your field of study. You and your educational institution have signed an internship agreement with the company, where you will do your internship.

Seeking employment in the Highly Educated Person track

You are eligible for a residence permit ‘Orientation Year Highly Educated Persons’ if you meet the following conditions, while in the Netherlands:

  • Within three years preceding the submission of the application, you: have completed an accredited Bachelor’s or Master’s programme or a postdoctoral programme in the Netherlands;
  • Have had a residence permit in the Netherlands for the purpose of scientific research or a residence permit for the purpose of working as a knowledge migrant to undertake scientific research;
  • Have obtained a Master’s degree on the basis of an Erasmus Mundus Master’s Course;

There are certain other conditions to gain entry into the Netherlands, with a valid work permit. You could find the form here at https://ind.nl/en/Forms/7523.pdf.

With a solid social security system, excellent work-life balance, government sanctions for self-employment, the Netherlands is on the list for most students from across the globe.