Highly skilled migrant

How to Hire Highly-skilled Migrants

The Netherlands became one of Europe’s most popular migration destinations

Over 400,000 people moved to the Netherlands in 2022. Its exceptional education system, growing economy, low crime rates, and 95% of English speakers are only a few reasons why this country attracts so many people to move there. 

However, with so many interested candidates, the Dutch government had to make sure that all migrants would make a positive impact on their society. To do so, they added requirements and procedures you must complete before moving to the Netherlands, which made the process a bit more complicated. Those include the MVV visa, resident permit, work permit, and special permits, such as the startup visa or permit for highly skilled migrants.

Although there are various things to remember when hiring highly skilled migrants, we’ll break it down step by step to ensure you have everything covered.

What is the highly skilled migrant program?

The highly skilled migrant program allows qualified employees to move and work in the Netherlands to add value to the Dutch labor market. 

These highly-skilled workers can arrive from any part of the world, but the conditions will depend on their country of origin. 

Highly skilled migrant requirements 

Firstly, there are the general requirements that everyone needs to fulfill:

  • possession of a passport or another valid travel document;
  • they aren’t a danger to national security or public order. To prove it, they’ll need to fill in the Appendix Antecedents Certificate and point out if they ever committed a crime;
  • they’re willing to take a tuberculosis test.

 Also, they can be exempted of TB test, if they fall under one of these categories:

  • citizen of one of the exempted countries;
  • already posses a valid Netherlands residence permit;
  • they’re a lifetime citizen of the Netherlands;
  • they tested themselves for tuberculosis in the Netherlands in the last six months.

Recognized sponsor 

Recognized sponsor

Once you’ve covered the general requirements, you can proceed with the other conditions. 

Firstly, to hire a highly skilled migrant, you need to be a recognized sponsor. A recognized sponsor is a company, school, or organization looking to sign up highly skilled migrants. 

You can apply to become a recognized sponsor for study, exchange, research, or work purposes. It’s a simple procedure that almost every company can do as long as they comply with the following rules:

  • be registered in the Netherlands with the Chamber of Commerce;
  • have a tax authority registration;
  • be in good financial condition, meaning that neither the organization nor its directors are insolvent or have their payments suspended;
  • not have committed any tax evasion in the previous four years;
  • meet the code of conduct for their industry;
  • follow the IND’s outlined requirements.

Recognized sponsor obligations 

As a sponsor, you will also need to follow additional rules and obligations towards the highly skilled migrant. Those include:

Obligation to provide information

Any changes impacting the residence permit or your sponsorship status must be reported to the IND. A modification must be reported to the IND typically within four weeks. Those changes could be:

  • The foreign national has either left the Netherlands or will no longer travel there.
  • The foreigner’s income is no longer sufficient to support him or her in the Netherlands.
  • The foreign national has terminated their studies, research, or employment plans.
  • The migrant worker will live with a new host family.
  • The organization’s dissolution
  • Payment Suspension
  • A change of address for the location where your organization keeps its records. 
Notify the local council if you’re relocating or emigrating

If foreign nationals move within the Netherlands or leave the country, they must notify the local council. Foreign nationals are required to do so before leaving the country or within four weeks after moving. The town hall or local council will inform the IND.

Did the foreign national fail to give notice of the move to the town hall or local council? Since you’re the sponsor in that situation, you must notify the IND via notification form.

Obligation to preserve records

Information about the foreign national must be kept in your files. You must keep this information on file five years after you’re no longer the foreign national’s (recognized) sponsor. You must be able to provide this information if the IND requests it.

Duty of care

This calls for cautious recruiting and selection of foreign nationals on your part. The foreign national must also be aware of the rules governing admission, residency, and other matters.

The foreign national’s return

The return of the foreign national is your responsibility. On the other hand, the foreign national’s family member isn’t. 

The foreign national is the family member’s sponsor. For example, a foreigner in the Netherlands on a work permit for seasonal work or on-the-job training isn’t allowed to bring a family member with them.

Hiring process

Upon successfully becoming a recognized sponsor and fulfilling these obligations, you can proceed with the hiring process. 


As a recognized sponsor, your duty will be to submit the paperwork for an MVV visa and residence permit of the worker, if needed. For example, if the worker you want to hire is from an EU/EAA country or Switzerland, an MVV visa or residence permit isn’t needed. On the other hand, if the worker is from another country, you may need a residence permit, depending on the country. 


Once you become a recognized sponsor and figure out the needed paperwork for moving your worker to the Netherlands, they’ll need to sign an employment contract. 

Income requirements

The next step is to meet the income requirements. Their income criteria can range from €2,631.00 to €5,867.00, depending on their age and if they hold a European Blue Card.


Finally, you must be included in the registry of individual healthcare professionals if you plan to practice as one (in Dutch: BIG-register).


Furthermore, to be able to qualify for the highly skilled migrant program, the worker must have a minimum of a Master’s degree to get a work permit in the Netherlands. In addition, graduates must have earned a degree from a school that is ranked among the top 150 institutions worldwide in two separate lists published in The Times Higher Education World University Rankings powered by Thomson Reuters to be eligible for this program. 

This program is also open to those who have earned a Ph.D. or a Master’s degree from a Dutch institution of higher education. This program will be available to highly educated migrants for three years from the date of graduation. Additionally, highly qualified immigrants must receive at least 35 out of a possible 40 points:

  • Master’s degree: 25 points
  • Ph.D.: 30 points
  • Ages between 21 and 40: 5 points
  • Previously lived in the Netherlands: 5 points
  • Fluent in English and/or Dutch: 5 points

What professions fall into the highly skilled migrants category?

high demand professions Netherlands

Highly skilled migrants need to have skills that are difficult to find in the Netherlands. They’ll need to have experience in that profession and have a specialization. These professions are considered as highly skilled:

  • Law
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Guest speakers
  • Project managers
  • Veterinary experts
  • Software developers
  • Scientific investigators
  • Business and management 
  • Professionals in the medical field
  • Advertising and marketing experts
  • Scientific Research & Development
  • Analysts of business and organizations
  • Specialists in information technology and communication

Although Dutch citizens are highly skilled and educated, there is a shortage of these occupations due to their complexity and the fact that numerous new businesses are open daily. That’s why hiring highly skilled migrants is a great opportunity for both foreigners to develop their careers as well as the country that will fill the open job positions.

Why should you hire through the highly skilled migrant program?

Highly skilled migrant

Different perspectives

International workers can bring various benefits to a company. They can bring their experiences from previous jobs and offer a fresh view on business issues that need solutions. 

Furthermore, they can contribute to making an inclusive workplace, as their cultural differences can positively impact other employees and enhance the company’s public image.

International connections

Another benefit that highly skilled migrants bring is their connections with other international companies. Those connections can expand your business and enable collaboration with other high-level businesses. 

Tax advantages

Tax advantages come with hiring global talent as well. 

The 30% tax reimbursement ruling may apply to foreign citizens hired for a position in the Netherlands. The 30% facility, a tax provision, is meant to assist employees in covering their moving costs. The benefit of the judgment may not, however, be transferred to the employee by the company. In reality, the benefit might be utilized either totally or partially by the employer.

What documentation is needed for a highly skilled migrant visa?

highly skilled migrant visa

The documentation needed to obtain the highly skilled migrant visa are:

  • A passport photocopy (all pages with stamps or visas)
  • Current proof of residency (if you have one)
  • A resume
  • Their highest academic diploma
  • EP/appraisal Nuffic’s diploma 
  • Their contract of employment 

Once they gather these documents, they are ready to proceed to the next step, which is the application payment. The application cost is €350,00, which the employer pays by direct debit. This price is solely for the highly skilled migrant visa application, which does not include the potential costs of an MVV visa or a residence permit which are paid separately. 

The next step is filling out the application, which is handled by the IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service). You’ll receive a confirmation letter from the IND (or the IND portal if you apply online). If you didn’t fill out the application correctly or documents are missing, the IND will contact you to notify you about any missing parts.

After that, you enter the waiting period, which will last up to 90 days. The IND is obligated to make a decision in that time frame, and they can choose to approve or decline the application. If the decision is unfavorable, you can object to it if you feel it’s unfairly declined. However, keep in mind that even if the decision doesn’t change, you’ll not be reimbursed the application fee.

But, hopefully, the application is approved – once that happens, the worker can collect the MVV at the Dutch representation, which is valid for 90 days, and it can only be collected by setting an appointment at the Dutch representation. An important thing to remember is that the worker’s passport is valid for at least another six months when the MVV visa is placed in the passport. 

When you pick up the MVV, your biometrics must be gathered. One recent passport photo is a requirement. Additionally, your signature and fingerprints will be requested.

When it comes to the residence permit, the worker will receive a letter to confirm it. After that, the worker must make an appointment to collect the permit. The residence permit will be valid for up to five years or for the duration of the employee’s job contract. 

Upon arriving in the Netherlands, the worker needs to take these steps:

  • a candidate must sign up with the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP) in the municipality where they intend to reside. A legalized and translated birth certificate is necessary to register with the municipality. Candidates should bring this with them when they visit the Netherlands. To find out the documents/certificates you need to bring with you, contact your municipality in advance and get them translated and legalized;
  • unless exempt, submit to a medical exam for TB;
  • obtain health insurance within the first four months of coming to the Netherlands;

Get handy guidance with business expansion

Business expansion

The highly skilled migrant program is an ideal way to expand your company with experienced workers who can greatly contribute to your business. It does bring a lot of responsibility and paperwork, but it does bring numerous perks. 

The demand for high-skill workers is huge, and it’s increasing daily, making it more difficult to hire them, especially if you’re doing it locally. That’s why bringing in internationals can revolutionize the hiring process and grow a business to new levels. 

It does take up a lot of time to cover all of the paperwork, but luckily, some services can do that for you and take care of the entire process, including the relocation, taxes, and all other legal details. And if you’re still determining where to find the workers that will be a good fit for your company, they’ll also connect you to them.

The highly skilled migrant program is the future of onboarding, and the sooner you adapt to the trends, the sooner your business will start to flourish.

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