What is a Highly Skilled Migrant in the Netherlands?

The highly skilled migrant ruling came into effect in 2004. The ruling means that highly skilled migrants enjoy a special status within Dutch law, which includes that they don’t require a work permit.

Non-EU citizens in the Netherlands are highly skilled migrants if they are employed by a recognised sponsor – a company participating in the highly skilled migrant scheme (kennismigrantregeling) by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). They must also meet the salary requirement. However, this salary requirement is lower for graduates with an orientation year permit. This remains valid for as long as the graduate works at the same company.

A highly skilled migrant is an immigrant from outside the EU (incl. Switzerland) who has permission to work in the Netherlands based on his or her (scientific) knowledge.

How do I qualify as a Highly Skilled Migrant in the Netherlands?

To qualify as a Highly Skilled Migrant for work in the Netherlands, international applicants must have:

  • Skills and experience that are relatively scare

  • A higher educational level (Bachelor minimum).

  • Some years of work experience.

  • Specialisation (for example in IT, engineering or science).


Which employers in the Netherlands can submit an application?

Only ecognized organisations are able to submit applications on behalf of a highly skilled migrant. That means the ecognizedn has to be ecognized by the IND as a sponsor.

Recognised Sponsorship

A vital requirement of the Dutch highly skilled migrant permit is that the company must be approved as a recognised sponsor by the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). If the company is not recognised, it cannot apply for the permit.

For the EU Blue Card and the ICT permit, the company does not need to be recognised as a sponsor.

What are the income requirements for a Highly Skilled Migrant in the Netherlands?

The applicant must also satisfy the minimum monthly income requirements for highly skilled migrants which are (as of January 1, 2022):

  • EU Blue Card: € 5,670, excluding the holiday allowance.
  • Highly skilled migrant permit, excluding the holiday allowance:
    • 30 years old or older – € 4,840
    • Younger than 30 years old – € 3.549
    • Applicants who’s previously held a ‘search year permit’, a permit as a researcher or graduated from Dutch university in the past three years – € 2,543
    • International who submits a highly skilled migrant visa application within three years of obtaining a master’s degree from a top 200 university: € 2,543


Do you like to work as a Highly Skilled Migrant in the Netherlands?

What is the length of time for decision for highly skilled migrant permit?

If the employer is a recognised organisation with the IND, the permit should only take two weeks to process. If the employer is not, then they will have to first go through the registration process, which will add to the whole processing time.