The Netherlands is one of the fastest-growing European countries regarding its population. That’s heavily influenced by many people who move to the Netherlands yearly. In 2022, 401,351 people immigrated to the Netherlands. That is almost a 59% increase compared to 2021, when 252,528 moved to the Netherlands, and a 153.42% increase compared to 158,374 immigrants that moved to the Netherlands ten years ago.
Regarding their nationality background, the Netherlands attracts people from around the world. The stats of those newcomers are:
- Europe – 64%;
- Asia – 17,3%;
- Americas – 7,6%;
- Oceania – 0,4%.
According to the stats, most migrants are from other European countries. One of the reasons for that is that it’s very simple to get a digital nomad visa when you reside in an EU country. The most common nationalities among migrants are Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Syrian, and Turkish.
There are multiple reasons why the Netherlands attracts so many people every year. For example, a lot of foreigners are students who study there because of the modern education system. Furthermore, the Dutch promote work-life balance, making it a great place to grow your career. In addition, the country is very safe and stable, with plenty of entertainment and cultural content. In addition, around 95% of the Dutch population speaks English, which makes it very easy to work and live there.
If you are also interested in living in the Netherlands as an expat, you truly made a great choice, as there are various options for working there as a highly skilled migrant.
What is a highly skilled migrant?
A highly skilled migrant is a person who does an excellent job in its field and is willing to migrate to the Netherlands.
To do so, the highly skilled migrant must have a recognized sponsor and fulfill the specific experience, age, and salary requirements. People with Dutch citizenship residing in a European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland don’t need to fulfill these requirements. They are free to work in the Netherlands as a benefit of being a resident of one of those countries.
Highly skilled migrant visa
One of the main requirements that you need to fulfill to become a highly skilled migrant in the Netherlands is to obtain a highly skilled migrant visa and a residence permit. The highly skilled migrant visa (provisional residence permit, MVV, or machining tot voorlopig verblijf) allows you to stay in the Netherlands for over 90 days. You first need to obtain an MVV visa to get a residence permit.
There are some exemptions for this visa. For example, if you are a resident of one of these countries, you don’t need an MVV visa:
- EU and EEA countries
- South Korea;
- United States of America;
- United Kingdom;
- New Zealand;
- Vatican City;
In addition, there are a few more situations when the MVV visa is not required, such as:
- you’ve held a functional European Blue Card for at least 1.5 years in another member of the EU/EEA;
- you have seven years or more of experience working on a mining facility on the continental shelf or a seagoing Dutch vessel;
- you cannot depart the Netherlands since doing so would violate ECHR Article 8.
You can check out all of the exemption rules on the IND official website.
The following important document you need to obtain to work in the Netherlands is the residence permit. You need two sets of eligibility requirements to get a residence permit. The first is the general requirements that apply to everyone:
- you possess a current passport or other travel authorization;
- you don’t endanger the rule of law or the country’s security. An Appendix Antecedents Certificate must be properly filled out and sent with the application for anyone over 12. You must state on this certificate whether you have ever been convicted of a crime or an offense;
- you must take a TB (tuberculosis) test. You don’t have to take one if you fall into one of these categories:
- you are a national of one of these countries;
- you are requesting a separate residence permit even if you already have a valid one in the Netherlands;
- you were born and have always resided in the Netherlands;
- you underwent a TB test in the Netherlands less than six months ago.
Once you comply with the general requirements, you can proceed with the second set of eligibility requirements. An important thing to keep in mind is that only a recognized sponsor can submit an application for your residence permit. The recognized sponsor is your employer. It’s easy to become a recognized sponsor, and almost every employer’s application is approved. The employer should visit the IND official website and follow the rules and requirements for applying.
So the second set of eligibility requirements are:
- you’ll work for a recognized sponsor;
- you’ll make a competitive salary;
- your income will be in line with the highly skilled migrant criteria;
- depending on whether you’re an employee, an appointee, or a guest lecturer, you may also have a guest agreement. You require an employer’s declaration from the overseas employer for an intra-company transfer. This declaration needs to mention your income, the type of work, and the transfer length;
- you must be a member of the BIG-register to work in Dutch healthcare services;
- for scientific researchers: The institution signs the employment contract or decision to appoint on their behalf. The job description and job classification as stated in the University Job Classification system (UFO) are stated in this decision or contract;
- for doctors in training to become a specialist: The training institute has been assigned by the Medical Specialists Registration Committee (MSRC), General practitioner and Nursing home Physicians Registration Committee (HVRC), or Social Medicine Physicians Registration Committee (SGRC).
Once these are covered, you and your employer are ready to start the application process.
The recognized sponsor submits the application
The recognized sponsor must fill out the residence permit application forms. Then, in case the MVV visa is needed, the sponsor can fill that out in the same form.
Once the IND receives the application, they will get back to the sponsor with the information about the fees they must cover. The fee for sponsoring a highly skilled migrant is €320.
IND reviews if the application is valid
The IND will review the application to check if everything has been filled out correctly and if the fee has been paid. In case something needs to be added, the IND will inform the applicant via a letter or email (if the application was filled out online) and send instructions on how to complete the application. They will also inform the applicant about the date when they received the application and when the applicant can expect the decision.
IND makes the decision and contacts the applicant
The IND will make the final decision on the application within 90 days. If all conditions are met, the applicant will receive the MVV visa and the residence permit. The IND will inform the applicant, the Dutch representative, and the Dutch embassy.
If the application isn’t approved, the applicant has the right to appeal the decision.
Collecting the MVV visa
Once approved, the applicant can collect the MVV visa in their country of residence. They will do so in the Dutch embassy of that country. But it can’t be done whenever – the applicant must first set an appointment within three months (an MVV visa is valid for three months). The applicant must bring their passport and provide biometric information to collect it.
Collecting the residence permit
When the applicant collects their MVV visa, they can travel to the Netherlands and collect the residence permit. They will receive a letter from the IND to notify them that the residence permit is ready. Once they receive that letter, they need to make an appointment and collect the residence permit at the IND desk.
The residence permit is valid for up to five years, after which it has to be extended.
Is it easy for foreigners to get a job in the Netherlands?
The Netherlands has a large job market, but as the population constantly grows, there is a lot of competition. Combined with the housing shortage and many foreigners moving there, it’s easy to conclude that finding a job in the Netherlands is difficult. However, it’s certainly possible if you make the right moves.
The first thing to do is to make the right preparations. Do extensive research on the job you’re interested in and discover which skills are required and how you can be the right fit for the position. Crafting a quality CV and motivational letter is also a good idea.
It also helps if you’re a younger person – the Dutch population’s average age is the highest in Europe, so they give an advantage to people under 40.
As previously mentioned, the Dutch population has great command over the English language, so if that’s the only language you speak, you’ll still have a great chance of landing a job. But, of course, knowing Dutch or other languages will add bonus points.
The best jobs for foreigners in the Netherlands are:
Jobs in high demand in the Netherlands
Finding a job in the Netherlands may not be easy, but working a high-demand job is definitely a shortcut when you want to move to the Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant. Those jobs apply to workers of various backgrounds. You may think that you need to be highly educated and have specific references to work in the Netherlands – of course, that helps a lot. But, there are various jobs out there that you can work without a college degree, for example.
Most of the jobs in high demand in the Netherlands are in these branches:
- science & research;
- health service;
In these branches, there are various job positions that you can do. Anything ranging from truck drivers, painters, plumbers, or cleaners, all the way to software developers, marketing specialists, or doctors.
There are opportunities for everyone, as long as you research the company and branch you are interested in.
Highly skilled migrants’ salary
The salary thresholds for highly skilled migrants in 2023 are:
- highly Skilled Migrants over 30 years old: €5.008;
- highly Skilled Migrants under 30 years old: €3.672;
- after graduation*, after a year of searching or for highly skilled migrants: €2.631;
- European Blue Card Holders: €5.867.
The average salary in the Netherlands is around 3,000€, which means you can have a good living standard. And if you’re more experienced and skilled, you can have a very high living standard. Even if the expert level is something you’re yet to achieve, you have to admit this is an admirable starting point.
The Netherlands is one of the most attractive locations for expats, and their numbers are incessantly increasing every year. Thus, the competition in the job market is rising and the immigration paperwork is becoming more detailed and extensive.
Fortunately, you can always resort to services like Dutch Haven that will make the process effortless. They will take care of your relocation needs, handle all the paperwork, and even find you a job so that you can go through the entire procedure as stress-free as possible. That can be of tremendous help as some government sources are solely in Dutch, and communicating with some employers may be challenging due to language barriers.
If the Netherlands is your dream country, go for it. They certainly live up to their reputation and welcome everyone with open arms. The system has been managed so that the arrival of foreign experts is facilitated as much as possible, so they can start work shortly after they arrive.
Growing your career in the business center of Europe could be the best decision you have made so far and an enviable starting point for further expansion and development.