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I'm employed by a Dutch institution after having been granted a work (and residence) permit as a "highly skilled migrant" a couple of years ago. My contract will be up in several months. While it's possible I will want to move abroad, I might end up not wanting to do so, or wanting to do so only a while after my current contract is up. My residence permit - based on my employment - expires 2 days after my contract.

My questions are:

  • What's my status, once that happens, if I do nothing?
  • How long can I stay in the Netherlands with no further arrangements after my contract and residence permit expiration, without it being illegal/punishable?
  • Do I/can I get some kind of grace period to look for another employer?
  • If I need to do something to legally extend my stay, what can I do (other than through a new employer)?
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Here's what I know - which is also summarized by this page.

  • There seems to be an automatic 3-month grace period for looking for another employer (assuming you weren't fired for inappropriate behavior etc.)
  • It is recommended to contact the IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service) close to when the contract expires to claim eligibility for the new employment search period and state your intention to make use of it - even though it's supposed to be automatic.
  • You may be eligible to unemployment benefits - but you must apply for those with the UWV (Employment Insurance Agency).
  • If you find a new employer within the search period, you'll continue to benefit from the 30% tax break (but it's not clear to me whether you'll "lose months" due to the 3 months of unemployment or whether the 7-year period would be extended by the duration of your search).
  • If you do not find a job within the grace period you're in deep trouble, so look for more information (which I don't have) on what to do in this case; you may want to leave before that happens.

Some more (less-specific) information here. Also note that the grace period seems to be a result of legislation changes from last year, so you should always make sure the information you're reading anywhere is up-to-date with legislative changes (including the advice here).

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