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Employing highly skilled migrants

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO | Immigration and Naturalisation Service, IND

If you run a business in the Netherlands and you want to employ a highly skilled migrant from outside the EU/European Economic Area and Switzerland for longer than 90 days, you do not need to apply for a work permit on their behalf. Highly skilled migrants and their dependents do, however, need to apply for a residence permit. It is also possible to offer tax-free payments to cover additional expenses incurred due to moving to the Netherlands.

Work permit

If you wish to employ a highly skilled migrant from a country outside the EU, the EEA or Switzerland for longer than 90 days, you do not need to apply for a work permit on his or her behalf.

If your employee is due to live in the Netherlands for less than 90 days, or is a cross-border worker, then they do need to have a work permit. These employees are not considered to be so-called 'knowledge migrants'.

Residence permit

Highly skilled migrants (and their spouses and/or dependents) from countries outside the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, who remain for longer than 90 days in the Netherlands, do need a residence permit. You can apply for one on their behalf. To employ a highly skilled migrant, you must meet the following 3 conditions:

Under the Association Treaty, you do not need to be a recognised sponsor to take on Turkish employees as 'knowledge migrants'.

In addition to these conditions for employers, the highly skilled migrant must meet a number of criteria for obtaining a residence permit.

EU Blue Card

You can also apply for a residence permit for your highly skilled employee under the EU Blue Card scheme. The EU Blue Card is similar to the residence permit for highly skilled migrants, but there are a few differences:

  • the employer does not have to be a recognised sponsor
  • the employee's monthly salary must meet the higher income requirement
  • you must offer the employee an employment contract or job for at least one year
  • in case of regulated professions, the employee has to prove that they fulfil the legal requirements to do the work
  • the employee must have at least a university bachelor's degree

If you want to know more about applying for an EU Blue Card for your employee, read the information on the EU Blue Card website and the IND website.

Conditions for recognised sponsors

To be a recognised sponsor your organisation has to meet a number of conditions, among others:

  • It is listed in the Commercial Register in the Netherlands;
  • Its continuity and solvency is sufficiently guaranteed;
  • The organisation, its directors and other natural persons/legal entities are not bankrupt or under suspension of payment;
  • The organisation has not been tax negligent in the past 4 years;
  • It meets the sector’s Code of Conduct.

Criteria for highly skilled migrants

Highly skilled migrants must meet a number of criteria for obtaining a residence permit. For doctors in training and researchers, for instance, the salary requirement differs from that of other highly skilled migants. And for doctors in training, researchers, and for intra-corporate transferees (ICT) and other intra-company transferees, additional conditions apply. Doctors in training also have to register as a healthcare professional in the BIG-register.

Specialised employees

If you employ migrants in certain sectors, which are not highly skilled, but are specialised and sought after, there are other residence permits available.

Residence permit for essential personnel for start-ups

The residence arrangement for essential personnel for start-ups makes it easier for young innovative companies (start-ups) to hire essential foreign personnel. But please note that this is not part of the scheme for highly skilled migrants. Do you have an innovative start-up? And would you like to hire essential staff from abroad? Then you should apply for a residence permit for essential start-up personnel. Please read what the conditions are and how to apply for the residence permit.

30% facility (tax-free payment) for moving to the Netherlands

You may be able to use the 30% facility of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst). Using this scheme you can offer the skilled migrant a tax-free payment of at most 30% of their salary (including the payment). This payment is intended for what is commonly referred to as extraterritorial costs, such as double accommodation expenses and additional expenses for living in the Netherlands. You and your employee must apply for a ruling from the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration together to be able to use the scheme.

This article is related to:

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Immigration and Naturalisation Service, IND