Salary criterion for highly skilled migrants

On January 11, 2016 by Dutch Umbrella Company

A European Union regulation makes it possible to attract highly skilled migrant workers from outside the EU: the highly skilled migrant programme.

The most important criterion with which employers must comply is the salary criterion. Moreover, the employer must be recognised by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) as a sponsor. Only then may an employer submit an application for a residence permit for the highly skilled migrant.

Residence Permits

If the employer is recognised by the IND as a sponsor, the application is processed quickly, the IND aims for a deadline of two weeks for recognised sponsors. In practice, it can take longer; the legal deadline for a decision is 90 days.

If the application is successful, the highly skilled migrant may collect a temporary residence permit (mvv) from the Dutch embassy in the country of origin. This enables the migrant to travel to the Netherlands and collect a residence permit from the IND.

Income requirements adjusted 1 January 2016

As stated, the most important condition of residence is the salary of the highly skilled migrant. The government applies an age limit of 30 years in respect of the salary criterion. Highly skilled migrants aged 30 years and older must earn a minimum of € 4240 gross per month, excluding 8% holiday pay. Highly skilled migrants under the age of 30 must earn a minimum salary of € 3108 gross per month, excluding 8% holiday pay. There is a separate arrangement for highly skilled foreigners who start work in the Netherlands within a year of graduating. The year following graduation may be used to seek employment. A minimum salary requirement of € 2228 gross per month applies, excluding holiday pay.

Thirtieth Birthday

There is another important exclusion to the salary criterion. If an employer employs a highly skilled migrant before he/she has reached the 30-year age limit, the employer does not need to increase this migrant’s salary after his/her thirtieth birthday. Thus, as long as the highly skilled migrant remains employed by the same employer, the employer may pay the minimum salary for highly skilled migrants under the age of 30 years: € 3108 gross per month.

Salary adjustments

In the case of continuous employment, the salary only needs to be adjusted in the following scenarios:

  • if the residence permit is extended; for example, if an extension is requested after 2 years, IND’s new salary criterion must be applied
  • if there is a change of sponsor (employer); the age limit of 30 years then needs to be considered again. Someone who turns 30 in May and changes sponsor in August of the same year, receives the minimum salary for highly skilled migrants under the age of 30 years until July inclusive, but must receive the salary that applies to highly skilled migrants aged 30 and over, from 1 August.


WePayPeople is an IND certified sponsor with a specialist team that possesses extensive knowledge and experience. We assure highly skilled migrants that they can work legally within a number of weeks. If you would like to find out more about how WePayPeople can assist in the deployment of highly skilled migrants,  please contact us on +3120-820 15 60, or send an email to