Dutch residence permit for highly skilled migrants
Employers can apply for Dutch entry/residence permits on behalf of highly skilled migrants before they arrive in the Netherlands.
If you want to work in the Netherlands as a 'highly skilled migrant', your employer can submit a fast-track residence application on your behalf, even before you move to the Netherlands.
‘Highly skilled migrants', sometimes called ‘knowledge workers', are foreign nationals who are deemed to make a contribution to the knowledge-based economy in the Netherlands. In general, to be classed as a highly skilled migrant, you have to earn over a certain level of income. Your employer must also be an IND recognised sponsors.
Depending on your nationality, you may need a provisional residence permit (MVV) to enter the Netherlands and a residence permit to stay in the country for more than three months. Your employer (your sponsor) can apply for both permits in one application, known as the Entry and Residence Procedure (TEV).
Find out if you need an MVV for entering the Netherlands, or if you only need to submit an application for a Dutch residence permit: Dutch provisional residence permits (MVV) and temporary residence permits.
Immigration updates 2016
- The salary levels required to qualify as a highly skilled migrant were raised: for those under 30 years old, the threshold is EUR 3,108; for those older than 30, it's EUR 4,240.
- The permit fee was raised to EUR 881.
- Highly skilled migrants and scientific researchers who have applied for a permit extension can now retrieve their residence document at an expat centre. Before, residence documents were only issued at the centres at the time of first issuance.
Conditions for highly skilled migrant residence permits
In addition to the general requirements for the MVV and/or residence permits, to qualify for the highly skilled Dutch permit you must:
- have an employment contract (or written agreement) with an employer (sponsor) who is recognised by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). The IND holds a list of recognised employers/sponsors;
- be earning a ‘competitive income' – prices are reviewed twice-yearly, but as of 1 January 2016 if you're older than 30, you'll need to be earning at least EUR 4,240 per month; if you're under 30, the threshold is EUR 3,108 per month. If you have been in the Netherlands for a graduates' orientation year permit, this level is reduced to EUR 2,228 per month. For more information on income levels, click here. If you're going to work as a scientific researcher or a medical doctor undertaking specialist training, these amounts don't apply and you only have to earn the Dutch minimum wage;
- be included in the BIG register (an organisation regulating healthcare profession in the Netherlands) if you're going to be working in the health field.
How to apply
Your employer will apply on your behalf.
Check with your employer about which specific documents you need to give them to support your application. Any documents you do submit should be legalised (authenticated) and be in Dutch, English, French or German.
For more information on how to legalise and translate documents, read how to prepare supporting documents for Dutch visa and permit applications.
It costs a non-refundable fee to process the application, so you don't get a refund if your application is refused. The current fee is EUR 881, although prices are reviewed at the beginning and middle of the year. Check the latest fees here.
The IND will process your application within two weeks.
Once you have your permit
When can you start work?
You can work as soon as you have your residence permit. If you need an MVV to enter the Netherlands, you can collect your residence permit once you arrive in the country. If your residence permit is not ready, your MVV sticker should include the employment status that you are allowed to perform work as a highly skilled migrant or scientific researcher, so you can start working as soon as possible. If there's no employment status, an IND or expat office can do it for you.
If you don't need an MVV, your employer will apply for your residence permit through the same TEV procedure so that your permit is ready for you to start work immediately. If for some reason there is a delay in processing the residence permit, you can go to an IND desk and get a ‘residence endorsement' sticker put into your passport. This sticker allows you to work while your residency permit is being processed.
Highly skilled migrants can seek information and submit and retrieve residence documentation via specialised expat centres. Find your nearest expat centre in the Netherlands.
You can also visit the IND website for more information or contact the IND by phone Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm on 088 0430 430 from within the Netherlands or +31 88 0430 430 from abroad. You need to make an appointment if you want to visit an IND office (except when picking up your residence permit); find your nearest IND desk. The IND's twitter account @IND_NL is also for general queries between Monday to Friday 9am–5pm, or you can email.
Your employer does not need to get a separate work permit for you. Members of your family can work, too, without the need for a work permit, as soon as their residence permit has come through. They can also use the services at an expat centre in the Netherlands.
For information on getting residency permits for your spouse, partner or family members, click on the link that is relevant to your nationality:
- EU/EEA/Swiss nationals: Residence permits for family members/partners
- Non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals: Residence permits for family members/partners
How long does the permit last?
The permit is valid for the same length of time as your employment contract, up to a maximum of five years. It can be extended. Find out how to extend your permit.
Family members' permits are valid for the same duration.
If your circumstances change
If you change employers your sponsor has an obligation to inform the IND. If you leave all employment and want to stay in the Netherlands on another basis (you want to study for example), then you will have to apply for a new residence permit.
Read the complete guide to Dutch visas and permits to find out if you're eligible to apply for a new residence permit with a different purpose of stay.
The information given here is for guidance only and you should seek specific advice from the Dutch embassy or consulate in your home country.
Need advice? Post your question on Expatica's Ask the Expert service to see if we can help.
Updated 2013; 2015; 2016.
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