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Permits for highly skilled employees

This information is provided by: Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service

A work permit or a combined residence and work permit [Dutch: gecombineerde vergunning voor verblijf en arbeid, GVVA] is generally required for all employees coming to work in the Netherlands from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland. However, an exception exists for knowledge workers.

Orientation year highly educated persons

The Netherlands attaches importance to giving highly skilled migrants the time they need to find a job or start their own company in the Netherlands after completing their studies. Therefore, a highly skilled migrant can apply for a residence permit 'Orientation year highly educated persons'. A highly skilled migrant can apply for this residence permit within 3 years of completing his study, or obtaining their PhD in the Netherlands or abroad.

As a holder of a residence permit 'Orientation year for highly educated persons', you are allowed to work in the Netherlands without any restrictions. This means that your employer does not need to have a work permit (TWV) for you.

Highly skilled migrants / Intra corporate transfer

If you wish to stay in the Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant, you 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. Your employer is your recognised sponsor.

When your sponsor submits an application for the purpose of stay 'work as a highly skilled migrant', you may fall within the scope of the directive Intra Corporate Transferees (ICT). The IND checks the application against the conditions of the directive. If you meet these conditions, you will automatically get a residence permit for the purpose of stay ‘Intra corporate transfer'.

If you have a valid residence permit issued in a SchengenExternal link member state and a recognised sponsor has applied for your residence permit, you are exempt of a provisional residence permit (MVV).

Knowledge workers

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.

When don't I need a work permit?

You won't need a work permit for foreign knowledge workers and their spouses if:

  • Your (future) employer is a recognised sponsor. For a list of recognised companies please check the public register recognised sponsorsExternal link.
  • You have a valid travel document (for example a passport).
  • You are not a risk to public order or national security.
  • You are willing to undergo a tuberculosis test upon arrival in the Netherlands. Certain nationalities are exempt from this obligation.
  • You have not previously stayed in the Netherlands illegally.
  • You have not given false information or withheld important information to support any previous applications.
  • You will earn a competitive income.
  • You have 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 amountsExternal link are index-linked on a yearly basis. This income requirement does not apply if you perform scientific research or if you are 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).
  • You either have an employment contract, an appointment decision, or, being a guest lecturer, a guest agreement. For an intra-company transfer you need 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 your income.
  • To work in the Dutch healthcare services you have to be included in the so-called BIG registerExternal link. The provision of healthcare services by individual practitioners is regulated by the Individual Healthcare Professions Act (BIG). When admitted to the BIG register you are then able to use your 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?

You'll need a work permit if the knowledge worker 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 Belastingdienst.

This information is provided by:

Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service