Highly skilled migrants in the Netherlands

Did you earn a Master’s degree or have you recently graduated? You could qualify for a Dutch residence permit to look for a job as a highly skilled migrant. The Netherlands is an innovative and prosperous country, and building the knowledge economy has always been key in its development. As such, the country needs highly educated knowledge workers and it thus wants to attract workers who can help to further develop that knowledge economy.

The knowledge economy and innovation

The country has already developed high levels of expertise in many knowledge-intensive sectors, like Water, Agriculture and Logistics. These sectors significantly contribute to economic growth and employ large numbers of people on all levels. A lot of multinationals are based in the Netherlands, like Ahold, Unilever, Shell and Heineken, but there are many foreign companies that generate employment opportunities here as well. Innovation is impossible without highly educated knowledge workers, so your dream job might just be waiting for you here.

Besides education, a highly skilled migrant is defined by age and salary, and a Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) sponsorship is required as well. Employers in the Netherlands can obtain Dutch work permits for highly skilled international employees, without the need to prove that Dutch or EU workers aren’t available for the job. However, if you are a highly skilled migrant (also called a knowledge migrant) who contributes to the knowledge economy you don’t always require a work permit as long as you earn a certain minimum gross wage.

Income and age requirements

If you, as an employee, wish to come to work in the Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant, you’re required to earn a minimum gross annual income. This gross annual income is referred to as the income requirement.

The income requirements to qualify as a highly skilled migrant are subject to change, and changes every year. You can find an up-to-date overview on the Dutch Umbrella Company website, or you can call us on +31 (0)20 820 1560. These income requirements are not applicable if you’re being hired by an educational or research institute, or are a postgraduate student or university lecturer under the age of 30.

Residence permits for highly skilled migrants

Though you don’t always require a work permit if you wish to work here, every highly skilled migrant must have a residence permit. You have to submit your application for the residence permit to the IND. The IND aims at processing these applications swiftly, if possible within two weeks. In reality, however, the IND usually takes longer to process a residence permit. Applying for a residence permit can be a time-consuming process, and the legal deadline for a decision is 90 days.

This could make the employer hesitate to hire highly skilled migrants, but that’s where we can help. WePayPeople is registered as a sponsor with the IND, which offers the benefit of a significant reduction of the 90-day process.

If the application is successful you can collect a temporary residence permit from the Dutch embassy in your current country. This enables you to travel to the Netherlands and collect a residence permit from the IND, which is valid for a maximum of 5 years.

The 30% ruling

The Dutch knowledge economy prospers by the influx of highly skilled migrants, and the Dutch government wants to make it more appealing for people to come work here. To attract foreign specialists with specific expertise that is scarce or not available in the Netherlands the Dutch government introduced a special tax facility, called the 30% ruling. This is a tax advantage for highly skilled migrants in the Netherlands. In short it means that the taxable amount of your gross salary is reduced from 100% to 70%, so that 30% of your wage is tax free. This tax benefit is applicable to expat employees working in the Netherlands who meet the 30% ruling requirements. This article will give you more information about the 30% ruling and the exact requirements.

There are more than enough jobs in the Netherlands, but some companies still hesitate to hire highly skilled migrants. Reasons can be the higher salary or the IND regulations, but regardless of what the reasons are it can be frustrating if it keeps you from landing that dream job. But we can assist you and your employer with that. As a recognised sponsor employer of the IND knowledge migrant scheme WePayPeople can provide umbrella services for your job and payroll while you are working in the Netherlands. For further information please contact us via duc@wepaypeople.com.