Residence permit for highly skilled migrant

Published by:
Immigration and Naturalisation Service, IND
Immigration and Naturalisation Service, IND
4 min read

If you want to employ a highly skilled migrant in the Netherlands, you must apply for a residence permit on their behalf. Learn more about the application conditions, recognised sponsors, and the validity of this residence permit.

What is the residence permit for highly skilled migrants?

The residence permit for highly skilled migrants is a streamlined immigration process for highly skilled employees from outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland. It allows individuals with specialised skills or expertise to live and work in the Netherlands.

A recognised sponsor applies for the residence permit

Only a recognised sponsor can apply for a Dutch residence permit on behalf of a highly skilled migrant. The (future) employer is usually the recognised sponsor.

Are you the employer of a foreign national who wishes to obtain a residence permit as a highly skilled migrant? Or do you intend to become a recognised sponsor? Please check the latest information about the conditions and procedure on the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) website.

Application conditions

To make use of the residence permit for highly skilled migrants, the individual has to meet the following conditions:

  • their (future) employer is a recognised sponsor. For a list of recognised sponsors, please check the public register of recognised sponsors;
  • they have a valid travel document. For example, a passport;
  • they are not a risk to public order or national security;
  • they are willing to undergo a tuberculosis test upon arrival in the Netherlands. Certain nationalities are exempt from this obligation;
  • they will earn a competitive income;
  • they have a monthly gross income that meets the highly skilled migrant criteria. This differs depending on the age and background of the employee. The amounts are indexed yearly;
  • they either have an employment contract, an appointment decision, or, being a guest lecturer, a guest agreement. For an intra-company transfer, an employer's declaration from the foreign employer is needed. This declaration should include the duration of the transfer, the type of employment as well as their income;
  • to work in Dutch healthcare services, they have 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 you are then able to use your legally protected professional title;
  • for scientific researchers, the decision of appointment or the employment contract is signed on behalf of the institution. This decision or contract states the job description and the job code, as set out in the University Job Classification system (UFO);
  • for doctors in training to become a specialist, the training institute has been assigned by the Medical Specialists Registration Committee (MSRC), Social Medicine Physicians Registration Committee (SGRC), or General Practitioner and Nursing Home Physicians Registration Committee (HVRC).

Please note: other rules may apply to Turkish citizens and their family members.

Is a provisional residence permit needed?

The provisional residence permit (machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf, mvv) is an entry visa. It is an authorisation to stay in the Netherlands for longer than 90 days. The recognised sponsor submits an application for both an mvv and a residence permit at the same time. Not everyone needs an mvv to enter the Netherlands. If it is not needed, the recognised sponsor applies for a residence permit directly.

When is an mvv not needed?

You do not need an mvv if the applicant has the nationality of one of the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Vatican City
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland

Please note: According to an applicant’s nationality alone, they are obliged to apply for an mvv. But they may be exempt due to other factors. For example, because they are a family member of a citizen of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland. So always look closely at the details of their current situation.

Application procedure

Recognised sponsors qualify for the IND's fast-track procedure. This means that the IND aims to make a decision within 2 weeks of receiving an application. Learn more about the procedure on the IND website.


The recognised sponsor (employer) needs certain documents to apply for the Entry and Residence Procedure (procedure voor toelating en verblijf, TEV) or the residence permit. Visit the IND website to check the latest document requirements.


The application fee for the highly skilled migrant procedure must be paid upon submitting the Netherlands visa application. This will not be refunded if the application is refused.

Keep in mind that the costs for legalising documents differ for each country. For a specification of the costs, please contact the authorities in the employee's country of origin. The Dutch Embassy or Consulate in the applicant’s country of origin may also charge additional costs. For example, costs for sending documents by fax.

Right to work

The residence document awarded shows the employment status (arbeidsmarktaantekening) of a migrant. This status tells you if and under which conditions they are allowed to work.

Under the terms of the residence permit for highly skilled migrants, the holder is only allowed to work as a highly skilled migrant or as a self-employed person. For other types of work, the employer needs to apply for a separate work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning, TWV).

Validity of the residence permit

The residence permit for highly skilled migrant is granted for the same duration as the employment contract. This can be for a maximum of 5 years.

Entry ban

If the employee stays in the Netherlands illegally after a residence permit expires, they risk being issued an entry ban for the Schengen area.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Immigration and Naturalisation Service, IND