Although Holland’s startup-friendly business climate has put the country ahead of all other EU member states in the 2016 Startup Nation Scoreboard, recent research suggests that the demand for tech workers in the Netherlands is much higher than the number of job seekers interested in such positions.
The tech talent shortage is a major obstacle for startup founders. If you’ve also been struggling to find employees locally, you might have already considered trying to attract talent from abroad.
Tech workers who move to the Netherlands are classified as kennismigranten (also known as highly skilled migrants or knowledge migrants).
The IND (Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service) has developed a procedure both you and your future employee will need to complete so that they can work for you as a highly skilled migrant.
The one thing you need to know from the beginning is that you, as the employer, will have to submit most of the paperwork related to relocating a kennismigrant. Here’s what the whole process looks like.
Step 1: Become a Recognized Sponsor
Only an organization recognized by the IND as a sponsor can initiate the relocation process. To become a recognized sponsor, you need to submit an application to the IND. As of writing, the IND charges €5,138 to consider an application, but the prices are updated twice a year (in January and July), so make sure to check the latest changes in pricing here.
The IND can take up to three months to process your application, though they typically issue a decision within four weeks. Bear in mind that the IND might reject your application based on your financial records of the past three years and a number of other factors.
Step 2: Sign an Employment Contract
Once the IND recognizes you as a sponsor, you’ll have to sign an employment contract with the highly skilled migrant you want to relocate.
When drafting the contract, bear in mind that your future employee must meet minimum salary requirements for highly skilled migrants. Currently, the minimum monthly income of a kennismigrant is set at €3,108 if they’re under 30, and €4,240 if they’re 30 or older. These are gross salaries that don’t include holiday pay.
Step 3: Get a Residence Permit for Your Highly Skilled Migrant
Depending on the country of origin of your future employee, you’ll have to obtain a regular residence permit for them, or both the residence permit and a provisional residence permit (MVV). The MVV is a visa allowing your new employee to enter the Netherlands and start working immediately.
Residents of EU/EEA member states and Switzerland don’t require a residence permit to work in the Netherlands.
Residents of Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Vatican City, USA, and South Korea don’t require a provisional residence permit to enter the Netherlands, but you will have to apply for a residence permit on their behalf.
If the tech worker you want to hire isn’t a citizen of any of the aforementioned countries, you’ll have to submit a combined application to get both the MVV and the residence permit for them. This is called the Entry and Residence procedure (TEV).
Regardless of the type of permit you’ll end up needing, you’ll have to pay a fee of €881 to submit the application.
If your future employee wants to move to the Netherlands with members of their family, you’ll need to submit additional applications for them as well.
After the IND receives your application and all the necessary documents, they can take up to 90 days to make a decision. If the IND grants the highly skilled migrant a provisional residence permit, your future employee will have to collect it at the Dutch embassy or the Dutch consulate in their country of origin within three months.
They will then have another three months to enter the Netherlands. After their arrival, your employee will have to collect their residence permit at the IND within two weeks.
Your new employee will also need to undergo a tuberculosis test, take out health insurance, and register in their local municipality to be allowed to stay in the Netherlands for the duration of their employment contract.
What If I Don’t Want to Become a Sponsor?
Many business owners don't want to risk their time and money to become a sponsor and delve into the nitty-gritty of the relocation process. Instead, they engage a company like Daxx that’s already listed on the public register of recognized sponsors, and relocate their kennismigrants through them.
"Our clients only need to choose, interview, and approve the developers they want to relocate. The rest is on us," says Noud Bongers, our Business Support Manager.
"Throughout the relocation process, we take care of everything including getting our clients’ new employees a valid work permit and submitting immigration paperwork. We support knowledge migrants as they search for an apartment and move their belongings. And we keep your employee on our payroll," adds Noud. "We have 17 years of successful experience relocating tech workers from Ukraine to the Netherlands."