Dutch visa for highly skilled workers

Dutch residence permit for highly skilled migrants

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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 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 the 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:

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.

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Updated 2013; 2015; 2016.

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3 Comments To This Article

  • Kukuvi posted:

    on 8th August 2014, 11:05:40 - Reply


    My employer will be sponsoring knowledge migrant visa for me. My passport is valid for next 8 months. Can you please let me know whether i need to renew passport before applying for visa or can do it after visa is processed. Thanks
  • Tuba posted:

    on 27th May 2014, 20:18:02 - Reply

    Hi Ravi,
    I read your comment. Actually my employer wants to sponsor my highly skilled migrant permit. I wanted to check if I change my job after that, what will happen? I mean do I have to stick to my employer or is it possible to change an employer, on the status of HSM permit.
    I wanted to just know if this permit gives me right to work for any employer in the NL or I won't be able to do it. As IND website doesn't explain at all.

    Many thanks in advance,
  • Ravi posted:

    on 6th August 2013, 12:30:37 - Reply

    First of all, if you already hold a great passport, like Irish, you don't need a Dutch Residence Permit on top of that, unless you planned to become Dutch and request Dutch nationality. Your Irish passport already serves as a Residency Permit (to work and live) for ALL EUROPE. Plus, low tax Ireland can't be beat by the Netherlands, now can it?

    The biggest mistake I did was to take up a Dutch Residence Permit.
    I am a high skilled migrant, and it is as much a fact that I am a transient migrant (NL is too small to make a career!) as it is that I will ever make time available to learn any Dutch, I sure as hell won't need it in most parts of the world for my job.
    Most people get one so that they can get a Dutch passport later on, but I didn't, I just did it to have long term residency entry pass and to be able to work.
    Now, my friend, he was smarter: he got the best of both world. He got himself a Blue Card (EU Residence Permit). Now, he won't be tied to the Netherlands alone, eg they won't claim tax on his assets for the 'Dutch alone' to get their hands on (after he leaves NL), and he can still move to anywhere within the EU. He doesn't need to become nationalized Dutch, and he doesn't want to, because he wants to avoid getting swamped with Dutch (high) tax bills, or even death tax if he dies (if you claim a Dutch Residence Permit, you are basically claiming continuous 'residency in NL' so obviously, the Dutch will tax you each year on your -worldwide- bank balance and any other assets, some 1% per year, each year to come, do this 50years and you basically gave away half your fortune to the Dutch :D )

    If you die, and still hold that Residency permit, they might even come after your estate and impose steep death taxes.

    Not to mention the Dutch Permanent Residence card is extremely expensive compared to other cards!!

    Of course during the time you actually work in NL, you will be paying local tax - however, as an expat you will also have the option to tick the box ' non dom' (which is granted only if you brought in as an expat while your employer got you a special 30% tax ruling). So, in short, think twice when picking which Residence Permit you want. And do your research well, before following immigration lawyers' advice who make a living advising people to get this type of cards. You might prefer an English Residency Permit, that one at least comes with an option to get English nationality with English language test rather than the cumbersome Dutch language tests!!!