Immigration and employment lawyers Reinier Wolters and Andrea de Ruijter have joined the Amsterdam office of Valegis Advocaten and together form the Corporate Immigration team. Reinier and Andrea provide advice and legal assistance on topics such as:

–        residence- and work permits for employees;
–        residence- and work permits for family members of employees;
–        start-up visas and self-employed visas;
–        compliance with the Aliens Employment Act.

As an employer, you may wish to hire employees from abroad. Many migrants need a work permit to perform work in the Netherlands and it is therefore important to know what the possibilities are.

The Highly Skilled Migrant Scheme
The Dutch Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (Kennismigrantenregeling) offers an attractive option for companies that require to hire personnel from non-EU countries. Qualifying companies can apply for a combined work- and residence permit for their employees and these permits should typically be granted within a two weeks’ time-frame.

Recognised sponsorship
To be able to file a Highly Skilled Migrant (HSM) permit on behalf of an employee, a company must first obtain recognized sponsor status. The one-off fee for enrollment is currently € 5183,-. The Dutch government has announced to reduce this fee as per 1 January 2017 to € 2592,- for small companies and for companies that currently have said status, but need to apply again because of a change in their legal form. For all other companies, the fee of € 5183,- will continue to apply apart from annual indexations.

Applying for a Highly Skilled Migrant permit
An employer can file an application on behalf of the Highly Skilled Migrant. The assessment by the Dutch immigration services (IND) is primarily salary based. In 2016, the following monthly salary thresholds apply:

–        Employees aged 30 years and up:                                               4240 Euro
–        Employees younger than 30 years:                                             3108 Euro
–        Employees who recently graduated in the Netherlands         2228 Euro
or who hold a search year permit

These amounts are exclusive of 8% holiday allowance and are indexed on an annual basis (every 1st of January).
Please note that the stated salary amounts must be in conformity with market standards and CBA’s (collective bargaining agreements) as well.

The future of the HSM programme
The European Commission has proposed a new EU Blue Card Scheme. The EU Blue Card Scheme currently exists in parallel to the HSM programme, but as the Blue Card is considered less attractive than the HSM permit, the Blue Card is currently hardly used in the Netherlands. The Commission has announced its intention to change the existing EU Blue Card Scheme and replace it with an EU-wide scheme for highly skilled third-country nationals. If the proposal is accepted in its current form, the Dutch HSM scheme will be abolished. It is, however, possible that the proposal will not be accepted in its entirety, in which case the two schemes may continue to co-exist. Valegis will closely monitor the developments with respect to the EU Blue Card and the Dutch HSM programme.

Our advice to you
If you have plans to hire several migrants from abroad, the HSM scheme may be just the right option for you. If you only wish to hire one or two migrants in the coming years, other options may be more attractive to you considering the enrollment fee of the HSM scheme. Please contact our Corporate Immigration team to see what is the best fit for you. You can contact us at: and

Kind regards,
The Corporate Immigration team

Reinier Wolters
Andrea de Ruijter