A Search Year is a brand-new residence permit status offered to third country students and researchers who’ve graduated from a higher education institute in Belgium (minimum education level 5).
Following the transposition of EU Directive 2016/801, third country (non-EEA) students or researchers may stay on the territory of a member state for a period of at least 9 months after they have completed their studies or research in that specific member state.
In Belgium, the purpose of this new residence status is to give non-EEA recent students and researchers the opportunity to actively seek employment on the Belgian Labor Market after graduation or completion of a research project.
“Actively seeking employment” is considered as both finding a job with a Belgian company or establishing an independent professional activity, ie. setting up a business, in Belgium.