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Employers generally need to apply for a work permit or a combined residence and work permit [Dutch: gecombineerde vergunning voor verblijf en arbeid, GVVA] for all employees coming to work in the Netherlands from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland. However, an exception exists for knowledge workers.
Highly skilled migrants / Intra corporate transfer
If you wish to employ a highly skilled migrant in the Netherlands, he/she will require a provisional residence permit (machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf, MVV) or/and a residence permit. Only a recognised employer can submit an application on behalf of a highly skilled migrant. Find out more about recognised sponsors and how to become one.
When you submit an application for the purpose of stay 'work as a highly skilled migrant', he/she may fall within the scope of the directive Intra Corporate Transferees (ICT). The IND checks the application against the conditions of the directive. If the employee meets these conditions, they will automatically get a residence permit for the purpose of stay ‘Intra corporate transfer'.
If the highly skilled migrant has a valid residence permit issued in a Schengen member state and a recognised sponsor has applied for his/her residence permit, they are exempt of a provisional residence permit (MVV).
If you're planning to employ a knowledge worker from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland, then special rules apply for work permits. It's even possible to offer them tax-free remuneration for the extra costs incurred working in the Netherlands. This is known as the 30% facility.
Who doesn't need a work permit?
Foreign knowledge workers and their spouses won't require a work permit if:
- You (their employer) are a recognised sponsor. For a list of recognised companies please check the public register recognised sponsors.
- The migrant has a valid travel document (for example a passport).
- The migrant is not a risk to public order or national security.
- The migrant is willing to undergo a tuberculosis test upon arrival in the Netherlands. Certain nationalities are exempt from this obligation.
- The migrant has not previously stayed in the Netherlands illegally.
- The migrant has not given false information or withheld important information to support any previous applications.
- The migrant will earn a competitive income.
- The migrant has a monthly gross income that meets the highly skilled migrant criteria. For employees from the age of 30 upwards a higher income requirement applies than for employees under the age of 30, as well as for those who have graduated in the Netherlands. The amounts are index-linked on a yearly basis. This income requirement does not apply if the migrant performs scientific research or is a physician in training to become specialist. In that case, the income must at least meet the provisions listed in the Dutch Minimum Wage Act (wml).
- The migrant either has an employment contract, an appointment decision, or, being a guest lecturer, a guest agreement. For an intra-company transfer the migrant needs to have an employer's declaration from the foreign employer. This declaration should include the duration of the transfer, the type of employment as well as the income.
- To work in the Dutch healthcare services the migrant has to be included in the so-called BIG register. The provision of healthcare services by individual practitioners is regulated by the Individual Healthcare Professions Act (BIG). When admitted to the BIG register the migrant is then able to use their legally protected professional title.
Short-term knowledge workers
A simplified procedure exists for knowledge workers staying for less than three months in the Netherlands.
When is a work permit required?
The knowledge worker will need a work permit if he/she comes from outside the EEA or Switzerland, and will be staying for more than three months. Your organisation needs to be recognised by the IND as a sponsor in order to apply for knowledge workers' residence permits.
Tax-free remuneration for knowledge workers
It's even possible you'll be able to make use of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration's (Belastingdienst) 30% rule. This means you'll be able to offer your knowledge worker a maximum tax-free remuneration totalling 30% of his/her salary (including the remuneration in question). This is intended to compensate knowledge workers for costs incurred working in the Netherlands. You and your employee will require a ruling from the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.
N.B.: As of 1 January 2019, the period during which you will be able to make use of the 30% facility will be reduced from 8 to 5 years. This will apply to new migrants as well as those already make use of this facility, bringing it into line with neighbouring European countries.
Simplification of the immigration procedure
Under the Prinsjesdag 2018 (Budget Day) proposals, the government has expressed its intention to make it easier for knowledge migrants to come and live and work in the Netherlands. This is, of course, subject to the measure being passed through the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament.
If you are a British citizen or you employ British citizens, residency rights will change when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. For the latest information check the Immigration and Naturalisation Service Brexit page.