What is a Highly Skilled Migrant in The Netherlands?

All information correct as of June 2022

To live and work in The Netherlands, you will likely need a residence permit and work visa, but the type of permit and visa you'll need can vary depending on your situation. You may be considered a highly skilled migrant in The Netherlands, in which case you will need a special type of residence and work permit known as a highly-skilled migrant visa.

Defined by The Netherlands Immigration Service (IND), a highly skilled migrant in The Netherlands is 'an employee who works for a recognized sponsor in the Netherlands on the basis of a work contract and fulfils specific age, salary and experience requirements’. But what are these age, salary and experience requirements? And how do you apply for a highly skilled migrant visa? In this article, we will answer these questions and explain the benefits highly skilled migrants in The Netherlands receive.

To qualify as a highly-skilled migrant and live in The Netherlands, you have to meet the following conditions:

  • You must have an employment contract or an appointment decision in place with your employer who is a recognised sponsor, you can find out if your employer qualifies by using the public register of recognised sponsors.
  • You must have a valid travel document like a passport and not be a risk to national security.
  • You will earn a competitive monthly gross income that meets the highly skilled migrant criteria.

What is a Highly Skilled Migrant in The Netherlands?

The income requirement for highly skilled migrants depends on their age. For migrants under 30 years old, the minimum monthly gross salary is €3,549 per month. For those over 30, a higher income is required with the minimum per month being €4,840. These amounts are index-linked on a yearly basis and are subject to change. As these minimum incomes would suggest, the title of a highly skilled migrant is usually saved for higher-up positions like a manager, specialist or trainee at a branch in The Netherlands. Although guest lecturers, researchers and medical trainee specialists are also regarded as highly skilled migrants even though they don't meet the income threshold.

There are benefits for qualifying as a highly-skilled migrant worker that normal immigrants might not receive. Firstly, they are exempt from the Civic Integration Act that most non-EU immigrants are required to follow. This means highly skilled migrants aren't required to learn Dutch or educate themselves on Dutch culture. Unlike normal Netherlands work visa applications, highly skilled migrants are much sought after by the Dutch government, therefore massively increasing the chances of a successful application. Another benefit for highly skilled migrants is that their employer's residence permit application will also apply to their spouses should they move with them, so only one application is needed for the both of you.

Finally, highly skilled migrants in The Netherlands may be eligible for the 30% ruling, giving them a tax reduction to help with the extra costs that migrant employees can incur when moving to The Netherlands for work.

Skilled Worker Visa

Now you know what a highly skilled migrant is, how do you go about securing a skilled worker visa? If you meet the conditions previously mentioned, then your employer can submit an application on your behalf. Only a Government recognised sponsor employer can submit this application and they are responsible for your application process. If the IND does not recognise the employee as a recognised sponsor, then you are not eligible to apply for the Dutch highly skilled migrant permit.

The application process can take between two to four weeks and can all be done online. There is an application fee for the procedure of around €345, this must be paid upon submission of The Netherlands work permit application and it will not be refunded if unsuccessful. The visa is dependent on your employment contract being valid. If at any point during your stay the employment contract is terminated, then you will have a grace period of three months to find a new job or face losing your work and residence permits. Your new position must also meet the requirements of the highly skilled migrant work permit procedure. Along with a work permit, your sponsor will also submit a residence permit for you. This will be required if you would like to live in The Netherlands long term.

Highly skilled migrants who want to stay in The Netherlands longer than 90 days will need a residence permit and maybe a provisional residence permit (MVV) too. If your skilled worker visa is approved, then you don't need to worry about the residence permit being rejected. The residence permit is granted for the same duration as your employment contract, for a maximum of 5 years, after which you will need to renew it. Your original country of residence will determine whether you need an MVV to enter The Netherlands. This is mostly Non-EU countries bar a select few, check the official Dutch Government website to see if your country requires one. You must collect your MVV before you travel to The Netherlands from a Dutch embassy and you should have the visa sticker ready to show in your passport when you land in The Netherlands.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a highly skilled migrant in The Netherlands?

  • Defined by the IND, a highly skilled migrant is 'an employee who works for a recognized sponsor in The Netherlands on the basis of a work contract and fulfils specific age, salary and experience requirements.'

  • What is the minimum monthly income required to qualify as a highly-skilled migrant in The Netherlands?

  • The income requirement for highly skilled migrants depends on their age. For migrants under 30 years old, the minimum monthly gross salary is €3,549 per month. For those over 30, a higher income is required with the minimum per month being €4,840.

  • What benefits do highly skilled migrants in The Netherlands receive?

  • Highly-skilled migrant workers are exempt from the Civic Integration Act, their residence permit application also applies to their families and they may be eligible for the 30% ruling.

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