Are you a highly skilled migrant in need of a residence permit?

The Highly Skilled Migrants Programme

Highly skilled migrants (kennismigranten) are highly certified employees that are from countries outside of the European Union (third countries). Such migrants, for example, will be employed as specialists or managers.

The Highly Skilled Migrants Programme is specially designed for these groups of employees. The programme is for companies that are registered as ‘recognized sponsors’ at the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). The company is a sponsor for an indefinite period of time if it submits an application for a highly skilled migrant at least once every 3 years, and employees a highly skilled migrant.

The residence permit

If you wish to work in the Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant, you will need a residence permit. A residence permit for a highly skilled migrant has a validity equal to the duration of the contract, with a maximum of five years. It is possible to extend the residence permit multiple times. The highly skilled migrant is also allowed to participate in business activities, in addition to the work he or she performs for the company recognized as a sponsor. A further permit application is not required for such work. The highly skilled migrant is also allowed to switch jobs and work for a different company that is registered as a recognized sponsor at the IND. The conditions for a successful switch are as follows: the highly skilled migrant must have a valid residence permit and their job change must be reported to the IND.

Residence permit conditions

The most important conditions for receiving a residence permit as a highly skilled migrant are as follows:

  • The highly skilled migrant must work for a company that is registered as a recognized sponsor at the IND
  • The pay of the highly skilled migrant must comply with the pay criterium that applies to other highly qualified jobs in the Netherlands.

Other relevant conditions can be found on the IND’s website, where you can also submit an application. Be aware that the IND’s decision regarding an application can take a few months.

Family members of the highly skilled migrant

Family members of the highly skilled migrant can apply for a residence permit that is linked to the stay of the highly skilled migrant. These family members do not need a work permit to be employed in the Netherlands.

Applying for a residence permit as a highly skilled migrant is a complex procedure. Mistakes are easily made which may have grave consequences. It is recommended that you hire an immigration lawyer to ensure that your application is completed with the utmost care and precision.

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