From highly skilled migrants to intracompany transfers, EU Blue Card, EU law: you name it, we will guide you through the whole process.

Highly Skilled Migrants

This Dutch immigration policy encourages the knowledge economy by allowing companies to recruit highly skilled migrants and apply for combined residence- and work authorisation in an expedited procedure. The employee must obtain a local contract for at least four months.

A guaranteed gross monthly salary is required (holiday allowance not included), the level depending on the age of the employee. Reimbursement of expenses and allowances may be included provided they are specified and guaranteed in a contract, are paid out on a monthly basis and transferred to a bank account in name of the employee.

To have access to the Highly Skilled Migrant program, the Dutch company must be registered as a recognised sponsor with the Dutch Immigration Service (IND) by entering into a standard contract.

Legal Crossing is able to assist in the complete application. From registering the company as a recognised sponsor with the IND to applying for the relevant permits under the highly skilled migrant procedure.

European bluecard

The EU Blue Card facilitates the entry of highly skilled migrants within the EU and aims to support and allow for better working possibilities in other EU countries.

The EU Blue Card is a combined residence permit with work authorisation. The applicants need to have an employment agreement for at least one year and must receive a minimum gross monthly salary. Academic qualifications, professional certificates and expertise are required for approval.

To have access to the EU Blue Card program, the Dutch company does not need to be registered as a recognised sponsor with the Dutch Immigration Service (IND). Recognised sponsors however do benefit from an expedited processing time.

The EU Blue Card procedure is rarely used in the Netherlands particularly due to the fact that the highly skilled migrant application allows for less stricter requirements. We have successfully applied for the EU Blue Card and are happy to advise on the benefits of this Card.

Work permit

All foreign nationals, with the exception of EU, Swiss and Norwegian nationals, require work authorization to undertake working activities in the Netherlands. They may start to work upon receipt of the work permit. Highly skilled migrants are not obliged to apply for a work permit.

The Dutch entity is responsible for the work permit application and must prove that there are no priority-enjoying workers in the Netherlands and the EU able to fulfil the specific function. The employer must actively search for a suitable candidate. If no priority enjoying candidate can be found within a 5 weeks – 3 months period, the application can be filed.

The application for a work permit is a long and cumbersome procedure and must be well prepared. Extensive documentation must be provided allowing the UWV (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen – the Dutch Public Employment Service) to make a sound judgement whether sufficient efforts (including advertising the vacancy in professional journals, on the internet etc.) have been made to find priority-enjoying workers.

We have filed numerous work permit applications and are able to provide an initial advice as to the chances of success for this particular work permit application.

Intracompany transfer

Directive 2014/66/EU sets out the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals (non-EU) under the intra-company (corporate) transfer (ICT permit). The transferee must be employed by the sending group company outside the EU for at least three months and must remain employed with this entity during the transfer.

The ICT permit issued in the Netherlands allows for work possibilities in other EU Member States by assigning the transferee from the first Member State to work in second/third Member States without having to go through a national work authorisation procedure.

The permit is issued to mangers and specialists for a maximum period of three years and to a trainee for a maximum period of one year.

The EU ICT Directive directly affects Dutch national immigration rules: applicants falling under the new ICT provisions will no longer be eligible for the popular highly skilled migrant procedure.


Foreign nationals, wishing to work independently in the Netherlands, will receive a residence permit provided that their business is of an added value and interest to the Dutch knowledge economy.

A point system determines whether the residence permit will be issued and consists of different categories. At least 30 points must be reached for each category. Legal Crossing can advise as to which elements can contribute to these points and to reaching a higher score.

The application can take relatively long (up to 3 – 6 months) and must be well prepared. The Ministry of Economic Affairs advises the Dutch Immigration Service (IND) in the decision.

A one-year residence permit can be obtained by foreign start up entrepreneurs allowing them to start an innovative business. The entrepreneur must work together with an experienced, recognised, facilitator. After one year, the entrepreneur must pass the strict points-based system to qualify for the self-employed residence permit.

Innovative start-ups may apply for work and residence permits for employees under the Essential Start-up orcedure. We can advise on the possibilities and conditions. 

A recommendation to the Dutch economic authority to support the self- employed residence permit application may be utilised. Please contact Legal Crossing for the possibilities.

“Avoid sanctions: good preparation is half the battle.”


International Trade scheme

The International Trade Scheme allows for companies to register a plan with the Labour Authority allowing foreign employees to work within the scope of the plan without having to apply for work authorisation. To be eligible for the procedure, the employees must perform managerial or specialist work and there must be an exisiting realtionship between the company abroad and in the Netherlands. 

Work permit waivers

Generally, work authorisation is mandatory, even if the working activities will take place for only for one day. For some limited categories of activities, the work authorisation requirement is waived. A limited duration of stay must be respected.

As the work permit waivers fall under a grey area, it is highly recommendable to check with us whether the activities fall under the exemptions and qualify for the specific duration of stay.

Employer duties

The employer has three main duties and responsibilities derived directly from the Dutch Foreign Employment Act. The duty to inform obligates the employer to report any information to the Dutch Immigration Service (IND) which can be relevant to the employees’ immigration status.

Under the administrative duty records of foreign employees must be kept for at least five years after the sponsorship has ended and the duty of care ensures careful recruitment and selection of the foreign employee.


Investigations and enforcement actions involving employers and foreign national is the focus of the Labour Inspectorate. The employer risks a fine of € 8000 per employee without the required work authorization. Self-employed persons and individuals risk a fine of €6000. For employees who are unable to identify themselves, a fine of €2250 is risked.

If the employer is unable to fulfill his duties and responsibilities, the employer will receive a warning. If a repeated violation takes place, the following can be imposed:

  • €3000 to €12000 per infringement
  • Withdrawal from the sponsorship program
  • Withdrawal of the permits, the foreign national can be deported.

All costs made by the Dutch authorities can be charged to the Dutch company. Furthermore, if the foreign national remains illegally in the Netherlands, repatriation costs can be charged to the company within one year after the employment has ended. We are able to represent the company at the hearings of the Labour Inspectorate or provide support in administrative and appeal proceedings.