When you move to the Netherlands for a job, you are usually given a highly skilled migrant residence permit. Contrary to the general belief held by most highly skilled migrants, you do have the right to leave or switch your job for a new one.

Additionally, as a highly skilled migrant in the Netherlands you can leave your job and retain your residence permit for three months while you find new employment.

While changing employers is possible, its critical to know the legal steps you, your current employer, and new employer must take regarding your visa.

Moreover, at All About Expats we frequently get questions from highly skilled migrants already switching or looking to switch employers regarding their 30% ruling.

Below we provide an overview of changing employers and what this means for your visa and 30% ruling.

Switching Employers: Informing IND

As a highly skilled migrant you are able to change employers but there are legal and clerical obligations you need to fulfill prior to starting your new job.

Below we highlight the main tasks and notifications IND must receive in order for you and your new employer to have a smooth transition as you start your new role.

Change of Sponsor

A main task related to IND is informing them of your new job. Your new employer needs to notify IND that they are taking over your sponsorship. Accordingly, your current employer should (although not necessary) inform IND you will be leaving the company.

Notably, if you (as a highly skilled migrant) decide to quit your job, your former employer has to inform IND you are resigning. You have three months from this date to find new employment without losing your residence permit.

This three month timeframe also applies if you have been terminated.

If you have been terminated by your current employer, you can learn about your rights as a highly skilled migrant and what to do if your company terminates your contract in our article losing your job in the Netherlands.

Highly Skilled Migrant Residence Permit

Markedly, its important that your residence permit is valid. Normally, your highly skilled migrant residence permit remains valid for up to five years or for your employment contract duration.

So, if you are changing employers and you have a one-year or two-year contract you must check the date of expiration for your residence permit.

Furthermore, if the expiration date is before you start your new job, your new employer must submit an extension application to IND. This should be three months prior to your visa expiration.

Ultimately, you want to avoid any gaps in your residence status which can prevent you from starting your new job and even staying in the Netherlands.

However, IND has become more flexible relating to permit extension applications for highly skilled migrants.

As of late, if you submit an extension within four weeks of your residence permit expiring, IND has been willing to accept the application. As long as you still meet the criteria for the highly skilled migrant residence permit, IND will grant the extension.

Changing Employers With the 30 Percent Ruling

If you were granted the 30 percent ruling (or facility) at your former employer, you should still be eligible for the tax incentive at your new job.

Accordingly, you and your new employer must resubmit the application once again and note that you were granted the ruling at your previous employer. The ruling should get transferred over.

Once approved, you can benefit from the 30 percent ruling for the remaining time allotted. Please note, the ruling can only be used for five years.

As an example, if you were at your previous employer for 18 months, you can still benefit from the ruling for a total of 42 months (three years and six months).

However, if you were terminated or resigned and had been granted the 30 percent facility, the period between your former employment and new employment may not exceed three months. If longer, you are no longer able to qualify for the ruling.

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Employers Without Sponsorship

Traditionally, to be a highly skilled migrant in the Netherlands, your employer must sponsor your residence permit (visa).

Typically, if you are seeking to change employers your first step should be to check whether the company is a recognised sponsor of the IND. This is critical to legally remain in the Netherlands.

Without proper sponsorship, your highly skilled migrant permit will be revoked and you will be unable to work and stay in the Netherlands. Whether you have been terminated, resigned, or are changing employers, sponsorship remains the most critical and time-sensitive issue.

Thankfully, this is where firms like ours are able to fill a critical gap. Our team at All About Expats has experience in providing sponsorship services for companies and highly skilled migrants.

Outsourcing Employership and Sponsorship

We, at All About Expats, are a recognised sponsor of the IND. Currently, we are one of the top employers that are payrolling expats and highly skilled migrants in the Netherlands.

Our services allow companies and highly skilled migrants to work together regardless of sponsorship status.

Our payrolling service allows companies that are not recognised IND sponsors to recruit and retain international employees by outsourcing employership to us. This means, the highly skilled migrant or expat will be on our payroll while being employed by said company.

Accordingly, as a highly skilled migrant or expat, you can find employment (whether with sponsorship or not) and then propose our services to your new employer.

You can learn more about this by visiting our IND Sponsorship page, or by contacting us directly via email or phone.

Highly Skilled Migrant Salary Requirements

When switching employers, some of the questions we get from expats and highly skilled migrants center around minimum salary amounts and standard pay brackets.

We have prepared an overview that will answer your questions regarding minimum salary requirements when changing employers.

Highly Skilled Migrants

Reduced Salary after Orientation Year

If you are coming off your orientation year visa and are being hired as a highly skilled migrant, your minimum salary falls under “reduced salary criterion after residence permit orientation year.”

When changing employers and sponsors, your new employer can always offer you the minimum salary under this bracket.

The salary minimum is € 2.801 (as of 2024).

Highly Skilled Migrants

Minimum Salary Under 30 yrs

If you are starting your career as a sponsored highly skilled migrant in the Netherlands and are aged under 30, your employer is required to offer you the minimum salary of € 3.909 (as of 2024).

When changing sponsor (employer) the required amount salary criterion for highly skilled migrants under 30 remains valid on date of change only if you are still under 30. Otherwise the minimum required salary for migrants aged 30 and older applies.

Highly Skilled Migrants

Minimum Salary 30+ yrs

If you are starting your career as a sponsored highly skilled migrant in the Netherlands and are aged over 30, your employer is required to offer you the minimum salary of € 5.331.

When changing sponsors (employers) as a highly skilled migrant you will fall under the 30 years or older minimum salary bracket. Please note, these minimum salary requirements, are subject to change depending on government rulings and so forth.

As you change employers and are over 30, verify the minimum salary requirement for over 30 of that specific year.

For 2024, the minimum salary for highly skilled migrants 30 years and older is € 5.331.

Highly Skilled Migrants

Minimum Salary for EU Blue Card

If you hold a European Blue Card and are working in the Netherlands for the first time the minimum monthly salary an employer can offer you is € 6.245 (as of 2024).

When changing employers you will still fall under the minimum salary bracket for EU Blue Card. Please note, these minimum salary requirements can change annually depending on government rulings and so forth.

For 2024, EU Blue Card holders can earn a minimum of € 6.245.

Highly Skilled Migrant: Additional Support

When your visa and sponsorship is tied to an employer, we understand the difficulty of deciding to leave or potentially switch employers.

However, it’s important to understand your rights and options, especially if you are unhappy or ready to take your career to the next level.

At All About expats, we also offer additional support such as consultations with our experts if you are a highly skilled migrant or expat and have employment and visa questions.

Moreover, follow us on LinkedIn for relevant updates and advice related to living, working, or studying in the Netherlands as an expat and highly skilled migrant.