If you want to take on an employee from outside the EU, the highly skilled migrant scheme offers you some attractive options. You do not need to apply for a work permit for a highly skilled migrant.


salary criterion

The purpose of the highly skilled migrant scheme is to facilitate the hiring of highly educated workers. Evidence of their education does not have to be provided. Whether a person qualifies as a highly educated migrant is assessed on the basis of a salary criterion. For a person who will be working in the Netherlands for the first time on the basis of the highly skilled migrant scheme, the required salary levels are as follows (2019):

  • A highly skilled migrant aged 30 or older must be paid a gross monthly salary of at least € 4,500.
  • For a highly skilled migrant who is younger than 30 an amount of € 3,299 applies.
  • A required salary of € 2,364 applies to highly skilled migrants who find employment at the end of the job-search year available to recent graduates.


Job-search year 

The required salary level that applies at the time the highly skilled migrant enters your employment is decisive with regard to the minimum salary that you have to pay to this person. In other words, even if the highly skilled migrant turns 30 during his/her employment, the salary requirement for migrants under the age of 30 will continue to apply (although this will be indexed if his/her residence permit has to be renewed). Let’s assume that you take on a highly skilled migrant who has made use of the option of obtaining a residence permit for a job-search year with a view to finding a job as a highly skilled migrant. In such a case you must pay this employee a gross monthly salary of at least € 2,364. When the employee is granted a residence permit as a highly skilled migrant, the salary requirement for persons who have undertaken a job-search year continues to apply, although this will be indexed if a new year has commenced in the meantime. Employing a highly skilled migrant therefore does not always have to be expensive.


Reliability and continuity

To be eligible to hire a highly skilled migrant, you must be registered with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) as a recognised sponsor. The IND will want to obtain certainty regarding the reliability and continuity of your business. Depending on the situation, you will need to meet different conditions to qualify for recognition as a sponsor. A simplified procedure applies to companies that are more than 1.5 years old. If your company has been operating for less than 1.5 years, the IND employs a points-based system. The criteria on which the assessment is based include: business plan, market analysis, organisation, financing and liquidity forecast. Compliance with tax obligations is also taken into account.



We have recently handled a number of interesting cases in which we submitted the application for recognition as a sponsor and supplied the associated supporting information. Would you like to find out more about the options available for taking on an employee from outside the EU? If so, please contact us. We will be happy to help.

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