In the Netherlands, many businesses take advantage of the highly skilled migrant (HSM) scheme.

With the scheme, Dutch businesses can recruit and hire global talent with specific technical expertise currently unavailable in the current labor market.

As of 2023, around 9,000 businesses are listed by the IND as recognised sponsors. Despite this, many businesses still struggle with attracting and payrolling highly skilled migrants.

Thankfully, workarounds such as outsourcing sponsorship to a firm like ours or initiating the legal process to become a recognised sponsor are possible.

If you are a Dutch company, below we break down what you (as a business) need to know about the scheme in 2024, why highly skilled migrant employees are added value, and how you can hire and have a global workforce.

The Highly Skilled Migrant Scheme

The highly skilled migrant scheme is a program offered in the Netherlands to non-EU/EEA skilled workers who wish to live and work in the country for up to five years.

It provides an expedited and simplified process for obtaining both a work and residence permit and allows for increased flexibility in changing jobs or employers.

To qualify for the HSM scheme, candidates must meet specific educational and income criteria. Furthermore, the candidate must have a job offer from an employer that is an IND recognised sponsor. Other requirements from the employer include: 

  • Providing an employment contract with a minimum of three months;
  • Paying at least the minimum wage for a highly skilled migrant;
  • The position (job role and title) salary must be aligned with market-level wages for the role.

Further details, including the 2024 salary earning requirements for employees working or being recruited under the highly skilled migrant scheme.

Benefits of Hiring a Highly Skilled Migrant

Highly skilled workers bring a multitude of benefits to Dutch organization.

Firstly, they are likely to possess a greater depth of knowledge, expertise, and experience in their field. Therefore, they bring new, diverse, and innovative ideas to their team.

Additionally, highly skilled workers tend to be more adaptable and can quickly adapt to changing business environments. Consequently, they are more likely to stay with an organization for the longer term and during periods of leadership transitions and so forth.

Finally, because highly skilled migrants tend to come with experience, they also serve in roles where their mentorship and skills can be learned by other employees. In the longterm, this helps the overall growth and development of Dutch organizations.

Overall, hiring highly skilled workers can result in numerous benefits for the organization, including increased productivity, innovation, and competitive advantage.

How to Hire Skilled Migrants

As a Dutch business, if you are interested in hiring non-Eu candidates as highly skilled migrants, you have limited options. Since foreign employees need sponsorship to work in the Netherlands, your business has to:

  1. be an IND recognised sponsor;
  2. outsource sponsorship to a firm like ours.

Below we provide detail about becoming a sponsor and what outsourced sponsorship would look like.

We also highlight the benefits of outsourcing sponsorship and payrolling to us, versus becoming an IND recognised sponsor.

Option One: Become an IND Recognised Sponsor

Becoming a recognised sponsor with the IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service) in the Netherlands, requires a handful of administrative tasks. Additionally, your business will have to meet specific prerequisites.

For example, a prerequisite listed by IND is that your business must be officially registered in the Netherlands. Another prerequisite is that the business can prove it is financially stable.

Full list of requirements your business must meet to become an IND recognised sponsor.

Once you’ve confirmed that your company is eligible, you’ll need to submit an application to IND with all the necessary documentation and information.

If your application is approved, you’ll be granted sponsorship status. This will allow you to bring skilled migrants and other non-EU employees to the Netherlands. Many Dutch businesses find this process time-consuming and tedious. Others, find they don’t possess the immigration expertise to navigate and successfully apply for IND recognition.

When this is the case, businesses opt to hire consultants like All About Expats to handle the sponsorship application.

Option Two: Outsourcing Sponsorship

For Dutch businesses without the bandwidth or capacity to initiate the steps to become IND recognised sponsors, payrolling firms like All About Expats offer a great alternative.

Our services allow businesses to outsource their payroll administration and HR-related tasks to our team. We become the legal employer of your employees, but the employees continue to work for your company.

As we are recognised IND sponsors, your business can recruit and hire highly skilled migrants. Our team handles the sponsorship and application process for these employees. We serve as their sponsors.

Payrolling firms also handle tasks such as payment processing, tax withholding, social security contributions, 30% ruling, and any permit requests for highly skilled migrants on your workforce.

This arrangement is beneficial for companies with a large temporary workforce or small HR teams. Your company can focus on the core business while leaving the administrative tasks to us.

Final Considerations

Our team finds that many Dutch companies only consider applying for IND recognised sponsorship when they have a candidate for a vacancy they’d like to hire but requires sponsorship. This becomes an issue for the company and the candidate as the process time to become an IND recognised sponsor takes up to six months.

Most businesses are unaware of the wait time.  Many lose the perfect hire. Others lose employees that were working under a zoekjaar visa but now require sponsorship.

To mitigate this, All About Expat offers temporary employership of the highly skilled migrant. This helps businesses hire highly skilled migrants immediately or retain current employees that now require sponsorship.

If your business is struggling to decide whether becoming an IND recognised sponsor is the right choice, our firm also offers consultation.

Lastly, if you know that you’d like to expand your talent pool to highly skilled migrants (whether you can provide sponsorship or not) check out our recruitment service where we connect Dutch businesses seeking highly skilled migrants with top-tier expertise.