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If a non-EU person (third country national) wants to work in the Netherlands, he/she can do so as a highly skilled migrant, with an EU Blue card or with a combined permit for stay and work (GVVA). If it concerns an intra company transferee, the EU ICT Directive may be applicable. Lastly, there are special regulations for posting staff within the EU.

Highly skilled migrant
The highly skilled migrant (HSM) program is an uncomplicated, fast track procedure to hire highly skilled non-EU staff. The company in the Netherlands must register with the IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service) as a recognized sponsor of HSM staff. The agreed salary must meet the HSM wage criterion. To scientific researchers, special rules apply. The HSM program is by far the most popular option for companies that wish to hire international staff on a regular basis.

Read more on our page: Highly Skilled Migrants.

European Blue Card
The European Blue Card program facilitates labor migration of highly skilled international staff, but the conditions are stricter and an academic degree is a prerequisite. An EU Blue Card holder can however work in other EU member states more easily. The employer does not need to be a recognized sponsor with the IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service).

Read more on our page: European Blue Card.

Intra-company transfer
Multinationals with an establishment in the Netherlands may transfer staff to this Dutch branch. There are European rules (ICT Directive) and national rules, but the highly skilled migrant program can also be an option for these intra-company transfers. It depends on the nature of the transfer which program is most appropriate. In some cases, there is only one option.

Read more on our page: Intra-company transfer (ICT).

Matrix comparing highly skilled migrant program, EU Blue Card, EU ICT and national ICT:
 
highly skilled
migrant program
blue card program
ICT EU
ICT national
position
manager, specialist
manager, specialist
manager, specialist or trainee as defined in Directive 2014/66
manager, specialist
salary threshold
see updates amounts here
see updates amounts here
see updates amounts here
see updates amounts here
salary competitive with labor market?
yes
fixed in salary threshold
yes
yes
processing time
2 weeks for recognized sponsor
2 weeks for recognized sponsor, max. 90 days for non-recognized sponsor
2 weeks for recognized sponsor, max. 90 days for non-recognized sponsor
3-5 weeks work permit/ 90 days residence permit
posting or local contract?
local
local
posted assignee remains employed by foreign employer
both possible, as long as assignment is temporary
awaiting decision abroad?
only if visa required
only if visa required
only if visa required
only if visa required
education
college-academical
college-academical of at least 3 year
voor trainee: master degree
college-academical
may family members work?
yes
yes
yes
work permit (not tested) required
validity
duration of contract; max 5 years
duration of contract; minimum 1, max 4 years
duration of assignment; max 3 years
duration of assignment; max 3 years
extension possible?
yes, unlimited
yes, unlimited
no - 6 months cooling-off period after 3 years of EU ICT labor
yes, as long as assignment remains temporary
permanent residency possible?
yes
yes
no
no
mobility in EU?
no
yes, after 18 months
yes
no


Cross border service
Employers within the EU can temporarily employ their non-EU personnel in the Netherlands without first applying for a work permit. This is also referred to as cross-border service provision or posting of staff within the EU. This exemption of the work permit requirement is subject to specific conditions.

Read more on our page: Cross border services.

Work permit (GVVA/TWV)
If the highly skilled migrant program and Blue card program are not an option, an employer can sometimes apply for a combined permit for stay and work (GVVA). This is the case with certain professions, such as artists, sportspeople and chefs in Asian catering. In some cases, only a work permit is required.

Read more on our page: Work permit (GVVA/TWV).

Everaert Advocaten Immigration Lawyers
Everaert Advocaten has more than 30 years of experience in tailoring legal services to Dutch and international companies in the Netherlands and abroad. Our lawyers are seasoned professionals in the field of labor migration to the Netherlands and Europe.

We can help to find your best options, which applications are best suited to your needs and advise on the compliancy issues involved. When things go awry, you can also call in our support.

For more information or advice, please contact Marcel Reurs or Bram van Melle.

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