Highly Skilled Migrant Work Permits in the Netherlands


Employers can apply for Dutch entry/residence permits on behalf of their highly skilled migrants with a non-EU nationality before they arrive to the Netherlands. If you do want to work as a highly skilled immigrant, your employer will be able to submit a fast-track residence application for you before you even move to the Netherlands. Once in the Netherlands, you can start work immediately and a work permit is not required. This is a popular channel for immigration as it can cut down on the processing times from 8 weeks to 3 months, to only 2 to 4 weeks from the filing date to the arrival date, if you have all the required documentation in order.

This category is different from EU’s Blue Card is a combined residence and work permit for highly qualified expats that are not a national of any of European Union member states. The EU Blue Card has tougher requirements than for a highly skilled migrant permit, and can be discussed in another article.

Highly skilled Migrants, also known as ‘knowledge workers’, are foreign nationals who the government has determined would make a significant contribution to their knowledge based economy in the Netherlands. To be classed as a highly skilled migrant you must earn a certain amount of ‘competitive income’ per month. That level of income is adjusted twice a year, every year.

As of January 2018, the rates are listed below:

Highly skilled migrants:

  • 30 years of age or older need to earn a minimum of EUR 4.404,00 gross per month, excluding the 8 percent mandatory holiday allowance
  • Under 30 years of age need to earn a minimum of EUR 3.229,00 gross per month, excluding the 8 percent mandatory holiday allowance.
  • Highly skilled foreigners that start to work in the Netherlands within their first year of graduating must earn a minimum of EUR 2.314,00 gross per month, excluding holiday allowance.

Other requirements include:

  • You must have an employment contract in writing with an employer (Sponsor) who is recognized by the IND or Immigration and Naturalization Service.
  • You must also be included in the ‘BIG Register’ (the organization regulates the health care profession in the Netherlands) if your employment will be in the health care field.
  • When you are ready your employer will apply on your behalf. If they have acquired the official status as “Recognized Sponsor” from immigration they may be able to expedite your application. The employer’s recognition as a sponsor is indefinite if they apply for at least one highly skilled migrant permit every 3 years

The permit will last as long as the employment contract, up to a 5-year maximum with the option to extend permit after that time. A highly skilled migrant can also work as an independent entrepreneur, without having to apply for a separate permit. Your family can also apply for a residency permit linked to your residence as a highly skilled migrant. They would be free on the labor market, and would not need a work permit to work in the Netherlands.

Using the Highly Skilled Migrant worker option will also allow both the employee and the employer to file a request with the Tax Authorities to fall under the 30% ruling that provides both the employer and employer with tax benefits. The 30% ruling is a tax advantage that if conditions are met grants a tax-free allowance equivalent to 30% of gross salary that is subject to Dutch payroll tax. It is considered compensations to foreign employees for expenses they may encounter when they work outside their home nation. If both the employee and employer agree, from a tax point of view the salary that is agreed upon is reduced by 30% in exchange the employee gets a 30% tax deduction as a reimbursement for expenses.

If this sounds like something that could be of interest to you, or need secretarial, payroll, HR, or management assistance; we would love to help you! Contact us today at info@got.international and we will get back to you with 24 hours with more information.