December 2021
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Global Mobility Basics
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Team Localyze

A quick guide to the Netherlands' highly skilled migrant residence permit


The highly skilled migrant permit is available to foreign nationals, sometimes called knowledge workers, who are in a position to make a contribution to the Netherlands' knowledge-based economy. For example, individuals that will work in a high-level position or as a guest lecturer, trainee doctor or scientific researcher. 

In this article, we’ll provide an overview of the following topics related to the highly skilled migrant permit: 

Eligibility requirements

Applicants cannot apply for this residence permit alone; instead, an employer must do it on their behalf. In order to do so, the employer and applicant must meet the following conditions. 

  • The employer must be recognised by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) as an approved sponsor. Recognised employers are listed in the Public Register of Recognised Sponsors.
  • The applicant must have a job contract with an employer or research institution in the Netherlands.
  • The job offer must adhere to the following salary criteria (as of 2021):
    • For highly skilled migrants 30 years or older - € 4,752 gross per month.
    • For highly skilled migrants younger than 30 years - € 3,484 gross per month.
  • The salary must be in accordance with market conditions.

There are also general conditions that everyone who applies for residence permits in the Netherlands must meet. 

  • Possession of a valid passport or another travel document. A child may be included in the passport of one of the parents.
  • A completed and signed antecedents certificate. This form certifies that the applicant:
    • Doesn’t have a criminal record
    • Hasn’t submitted any false information
    • Hasn’t stayed in the Netherlands illegally
  • A medical test for tuberculosis (TB), unless exempt.

There are additional conditions for scientific researchers, doctors in training to become specialists, intra-company transfers, and Turkish nationals. You can find them here.

Application process

The application process for the highly skilled migrant permit will depend on whether or not the applicant requires a provisional residence permit (machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf or mvv) to travel to the Netherlands. You can find exemptions from this requirement here.

When an mvv is required

1. Employer submits application on behalf of employee

If the applicant needs an mvv to enter the Netherlands, the employer has to submit an application for both the mvv and residence permit at the same time. These are the required application forms to be filled out and submitted to the IND. 

After they receive the application, the IND will send a letter to the employer with instructions on how to pay the necessary fees. For the highly skilled migrant residence permit, the cost is € 320.

They can be submitted either online or by post.

2. IND checks for completeness

After the application has been received, the IND sends a letter of confirmation to the employer stating the date of receipt and the period within which a decision will be reached.

The IND will check to see if the application is complete and if the fees have been paid. If any part of the application is incorrect or if documents are missing, the IND will contact the employer with instructions on how to complete the applications. 

If the application has been submitted online, notifications from the IND will be sent via the My IND portal.

3. IND communicates decision to employer

After the IND confirms that the application is complete, they’ll check to see if the applicant meets the necessary conditions. They are required to arrive at a decision within 90 days.

If the applicant and employer meet all the conditions, the applicant will get an mvv and a residence permit. The employer will be notified by the IND about the decision. The IND also informs the Dutch representation.

If the application for an mvv and residence permit is approved, the employer will be notified by the IND. Additionally, they will notify the Dutch embassy. 

If the application for the mvv and residence permit is declined, the IND will notify the applicant and employer of their decision by letter. It is possible to appeal the IND’s decision.

4. Applicant collects mvv

After the application has been approved, the applicant can pick up the mvv from the Dutch embassy in the applicant’s country of residence. The employer will specify the location when filling out the application. 

In order to collect the mvv, the applicant must make an appointment with the relevant Dutch embassy. It has to be collected within 3 months. On the day of the appointment, the applicant will need to bring a passport that’s valid for at least 6 months and provide their biometric information at the embassy.

5. Applicant travels to Netherlands

The mvv is valid for a period of 90 days. After it has been picked up, the applicant can travel to the Netherlands. They can also travel within the Schengen zone.

If the applicant and employer meet all the conditions, the applicant will get an mvv and a residence permit. The IND will notify the employer about the decision. They will also inform the Dutch representation.

6. Applicant collects residence permit

After arriving in the Netherlands, the applicant will be able to pick up their residence permit in approximately two weeks time. The IND will send them a letter when it’s ready to be collected. To do so, the applicant will have to make an appointment online at the IND desk. Instructions are outlined in the letter.

When an mvv is not required

1. Employer submits application on behalf of employee

If the applicant is exempt from having to apply for an mvv, they can travel directly to the Netherlands. Once there, the recognised employer will have 90 days to apply for the residence permit on their behalf.

These are the forms that need to be filled out by the employer. They should be submitted with any supporting documents to the IND. After they receive the application, the IND will send a letter to the employer with instructions on how to pay the necessary fees. For the highly skilled migrant residence permit, the cost is € 320.

2. IND checks for completeness

After the application has been received, the IND sends a letter of confirmation to the employer stating the date of receipt and the period within which a decision will be reached.

The IND will check to see if the application is complete and if the fees have been paid. If any part of the application is incorrect or if documents are missing, the IND will contact the employer with instructions on how to complete the applications. 

If the application has been submitted online, notifications from the IND will be sent via the My IND portal.

3. IND communicates decision to employer

After the IND confirms that the application is complete, they’ll check to see if the applicant meets the necessary conditions. They are required to arrive at a decision within 90 days.

If the applicant and employer meet all the conditions, the applicant will get an mvv and a residence permit. The employer will be notified by the IND about the decision. The IND also informs the Dutch representation.

If the mvv and resident permit application is approved, the IND will notify the employer. Additionally, they will notify the Dutch embassy. 

If the mvv and resident permit application is declined, the IND will notify the applicant and employer of their decision by letter. It is possible to appeal the IND’s decision.

4. Applicant collects residence permit

After arriving in the Netherlands, the applicant will be able to pick up their residence permit in approximately two weeks time. The IND will send them a letter when it’s ready to be collected. To do so, the applicant will have to make an appointment online at the IND desk. Instructions are outlined in the letter.

Next steps regardless of mvv requirement

Aside from the application, applicants are obliged to do the following after arriving in the Netherlands: 

  • Applicants must register with the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP)  in the municipality where they will live. To register with the municipality, you need a legalised and translated  birth certificate. Take this therefore with you when you travel to the Netherlands. Please contact your municipality in advance to check which (legalised and translated) documents/ certificates you need to take with you.
  • Undergo a medical test for tuberculosis (TB), unless exempt. This must be done within 3 months after the issue date of the residence permit at the Area Health Authority (GGD). 
  • Take out health insurance within the first 4 months after arrival in the Netherlands.

Validity of residence permit

The highly skilled migrant residence permit remains valid for up to five years, or for the duration of the employment contract.   

Unemployment

If the permit holder becomes unemployed during this period, they are eligible for a search period of up to three months to find a new job as a highly skilled migrant. The search period begins on the day the employment contract is terminated. If the residence permit expires in less than three month’s time, then the search period is shortened accordingly.

When looking for employment, the permit holder must find an employer that’s recognised as a sponsor by the IND.

Extension of residence permit

Permit holders may submit an application, with the help of their employer, to renew their residence permit three months before it expires. The employer can apply for the extension online or by post. Get the application forms here.

To receive an extension, permit holders should still meet the conditions of the highly skilled migrant permit. For example:

  • Possession of a valid Dutch residence permit.
  • Main residence in the Netherlands.
  • Valid work contract with a recognised employer

Support for applicants and employers

This information outlined in this article provides a concise overview of the highly skilled migrant residence permit. The specifics and complexity of the application procedure may vary from case to case. 

If you’re interested in learning how to streamline the process and ensure a seamless experience for applicants, get in touch with us! 

The contents of our website, specifically the articles discussing legal topics, are researched with the utmost care. However, the provider cannot assume any liability for the correctness, completeness, and topicality of the information provided. In particular, the information is of a general nature and does not contain legal advice in individual cases. For the solution of specific legal matters, please consult a lawyer.