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Graduates in the Netherlands appeal to government to extend visas due to COVID-19

A recent PhD graduate in the Netherlands, Yuven Muniandy, started an online petition with over 1,700 signatures asking the Dutch government to extend the visas of foreign students in response to the economic impact of COVID-19.

Recent university graduates from outside the EU can stay in the Netherlands on a ‘search year’ visa to live and work in the country for one year while they look for a position in their field. According to Muniandy, ‘The main goal is to promote foreign investment and cultivate diversity in the Dutch job market. If you don’t get any job in the year, you go back, but with the coronavirus situation, companies and institutions have frozen recruitment: no-one is hiring.’

Along with other recent graduates, Muniandy has written to the immigration authority and Ministry of Justice asking the government to extend the deadline for seeking work in the Netherlands. Members of a Facebook group on this topic have reported that other countries have taken this approach with their recent graduates.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Justice stated that there are no current plans to change the visa situation for these students.

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