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An immigration update for Highly Skilled Migrants, EU Blue Card and ICT permit holders

An immigration update for Highly Skilled Migrants, EU Blue Card and ICT permit holders

An immigration update for Highly Skilled Migrants, EU Blue Card and ICT permit holders

Kroes Advocaten Immigration Lawyers is a leading business immigration law firm in the Netherlands. The firm assists both corporate clients and private individuals with the obtainment of all different types of visas, work, and residence permits.

Are you a highly skilled migrant, EU Blue Card holder, or an intra corporate transferee? Here's what you need to know about changes to Dutch immigration law in 2021. 

Salary thresholds for 2021

The new salary thresholds for 2021 are as follows:

Highly Skilled Migrant work permit (Kennismigranten)

  • Employees under the age of 30: 3.484 euros gross per month, excluding 8% holiday allowance
  • Employees aged 30 or over: 4.752 euros gross per month, excluding 8% holiday allowance
  • Employees holding or qualifying for "orientation year highly educated persons" permit ("search year" permit): 2.497 euros gross per month, excluding 8% holiday allowance

Intra Corporate Transferee permit (ICT permit)

  • Employees under the age of 30: 3.484 euros gross per month, excluding 8% holiday allowance
  • Employees aged 30 or over: 4.752 euros gross per month, excluding 8% holiday allowance

EU Blue Card (Europese Blauwe Kaart)

  • 5.567 euros gross per month, excluding 8% holiday allowance*

*In the EU Blue Card program there is no age difference. All applicants must earn this threshold.

Always keep the following in mind!

The salary threshold must be met every month. An annual bonus or any other irregular (monthly) financial benefits or allowances will not be considered as part of the salary required to meet the monthly salary threshold. A structural monthly allowance, like a car allowance or health insurance contribution, that comes on top of your gross monthly salary and is agreed upon in the employment contract does count towards the salary threshold.

There are two important additional conditions to keep the highly skilled migrant, EU Blue Card or ICT permit:

  • You have to receive your salary into a bank account which is in your name.
  • You must receive your salary into your bank account in the month that you have performed the work. For example: if you work in the month of January, then you must also receive your salary into your bank account in January.

Non-compliance will result in the revokement of your permit and a penalty to your employer should the IND find out. 

Should you expect a salary rise in 2021?

Does this mean that your current salary must be raised to reach the 2021 salary levels? While you will likely expect (and hope) that this would be the case - it is not. The salary threshold that was applicable in the year that you received your highly skilled migrant permit, EU Blue Card or ICT permit remains the threshold.

But, if your permit is due to expire in 2021 and you must file for a renewal, you will be required to earn the applicable 2021 salary threshold to qualify for the permit.

What if you turn 30 in 2021 and must renew your highly skilled migrant or ICT permit thereafter? In that case, the below 30 years 2021 salary threshold remains applicable, assuming that you continue your employment with the same employer. Only if you change employers in 2021 and you (just) turned 30, must you earn the above 30-year salary threshold.

The intra corporate transferee permit

The ICT permit is issued for a maximum duration of 3 years, and can not be renewed once expired. 

What if your secondment in the Netherlands will be extended after this period? In that case, the IND has confirmed in its frequently asked questions of October 7, 2020, that it is possible to apply for a change of your ICT permit into a highly skilled migrant permit. That will also be possible should you remain seconded and do not sign an employment contract with the receiving entity in the Netherlands. Be reminded that if this situation occurs in 2021, you will have to meet the applicable 2021 highly skilled migrant salary threshold.

Orientation year highly educated persons permit and salary threshold

There is one group of foreigners that will always fall under the lowest highly skilled migrant salary threshold: the group that obtained an orientation year highly educated persons permit (also known as the search year permit), or foreigners that meet the conditions for such a permit.

Irrespective of your age, or how many times you will change employer, to qualify for the highly skilled migrant permit you will only need to meet the lowest salary category mentioned above. Visit the IND website to find out if you qualify for this permit. 

Enormous broadening of scope of orientation year highly educated persons permit

In October 2020 the IND broadened the scope of the eligibility for the orientation year highly educated persons permit enormously. This policy change was in response to the massive surge in unemployment after COVID-19 under young highly skilled migrants and recent graduates.

To qualify for the search year permit you must have graduated within 3 years preceding the application:

  • From a university or HBO (Hogere Beroepsopleiding) in the Netherlands.
  • From a university ranked in the top 200 of the world.
  • Or your faculty at the university must be listed in the top 200 listed by subject.

Visit the IND website to find out if your university or faculty belongs at the top 200 at your graduation date.

Under the new IND policy rules, the lowest highly skilled migrant salary threshold remains applicable for the remaining part of the above mentioned 3 year period. It is irrelevant if you already held a search year permit, and / or you did not find a job as a highly skilled migrant, or even if you did find a job as a highly skilled migrant with your search year permit, but became unemployed.

As already mentioned above: the lowest highly skilled migrant salary threshold of 2.497 euros gross per month excluding 8% holiday allowance is applicable. So this will make it slightly easier to find an employer that is willing to give you work as a highly skilled migrant.

Losing your job and the three-month search period

Should you suddenly find yourself unemployed in 2021, you are entitled to the following residential rights: 

  • As a highly skilled migrant and EU Blue Card holder, you have three months to find another job (a three-month search period). If you find a job within this period, your permit will not be revoked and there will be no gap in your built-up residential rights.
  • Intra corporate transferee permit holders are not entitled to a three-month search period. They are expected to leave the Netherlands and return to their country of origin when their secondment in the Netherlands is terminated.
  • The three-month search period is not applicable for highly skilled migrants and EU Blue Card holders if the expiration date of their permit is less than three months after their last day of work. In this situation, the maximum search period is until the period of time before the permit expires.

Kroes Advocaten Immigration Lawyers is a leading boutique law firm specialised in corporate migration and arranging work and residence permits for private individuals. The firm also has an excellent track record in litigation matters assisting companies and foreigners when permits are revoked.

Sander Groen is a partner at Kroes Advocaten. He is considered one of the best corporate immigration lawyers in the Netherlands. Sander specialises in highly skilled migrants, litigation and European immigration issues. 

Sander  Groen

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Sander Groen

Sander Groen is partner at Kroes Advocaten. He is considered one of the best corporate immigration lawyers in the Netherland. Sander specializes in highly skilled migrants, litigation and European immigration...

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