What you need to know about working in the Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant

What you need to know about working in the Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant

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Are you a highly skilled migrant wanting to change jobs? Are you outside of the EU and want to move to the Netherlands? Or maybe your employer isn't a recognised sponsor of the IND and therefore cannot offer you a direct contract? These kinds of situations make it challenging for you to continue or start your adventure in the Netherlands, explains TOSS in Holland

Companies that want to hire highly skilled migrants must deal with many obligations, procedures, and risks. In addition, every company that wants to hire a non-EU citizen must be a recognised sponsor of the IND. This is a complex and expensive procedure.

Important requirements to hire a highly skilled migrant

The Netherlands is happy to receive highly skilled migrants. There is even a scheme specifically to attract highly skilled migrants and students to come to the Netherlands. But this does not mean that any company can easily apply just like that. If a company employs a non-EU employee, they must comply with all kinds of requirements and obligations. If they do not do this, there is a chance that the employee will work illegally in the Netherlands and the company will be charged with high fines by the Dutch tax authorities.

The three most important requirements to keep in mind when hiring a highly skilled migrant (non-EU) are:

  • The employer must have been selected as a recognised sponsor by the IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service).
  • The employee must come from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
  • There is a salary criterion or minimum wage requirement.


As a recognised sponsor, the company will benefit from the perks - but also receive new responsibilities. The company has the duty to keep the IND informed, which includes:

  • Administrating all necessary documents and keeping them on file for five years after ending the sponsorship for the employee.
  • Practising due diligence when recruiting and selecting employees, as well as informing them about the conditions they need to meet in order to enter and stay in the country.
  • Last but not least, the sponsor can be held liable for any illegal stay of the former employee following the termination of their employment.

Being a recognised sponsor, the IND can check at any given time whether an organisation complies with the rules, for example by requesting data from the organisation. If they do not comply with the rules, the IND can take various measures such as suspension for being a sponsor, withdrawal of residence permits, administrative fines or even reporting their behaviour as a criminal offence.

Payroll service

Due to the many requirements and obligations, it is possible that your future employer is not a recognised sponsor of the IND. If not, then payroll services are the solution. A payroll company hires you themselves, taking on the responsibility of fulfilling the terms and conditions of the employment agreement to you directly. The payroll company then comes to an agreement with an employer in need of your services, and you go to work to meet those needs. In this sense, you would be officially employed by them, and they would administer your salary at the end of the month, but you perform the work duties for the company requesting your services.

TOSS in Holland has years of experience in assisting expats and highly skilled migrants, as well as international businesses with transitioning and working in the Netherlands. If you need any help with moving, arriving, working, or settling in the Netherlands, feel free to get in touch with them.

Pim Bouwmeester


Pim Bouwmeester

Pim has been working in the world of international payroll since 2001. Complex issues, setting up administrations, but also offering immigration services for highly skilled migrants from abroad, are the...

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