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IND announces eased criteria for Highly Skilled Migrants

The Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) has decided to ease the criteria for certain employees to obtain a residence permit as a Highly Skilled Migrant. Foreign nationals that have already had a Dutch residence permit for an Orientation Year (in Dutch: zoekjaar), but who were not able to find a job before the residence permit expired, will now still be able to obtain a Dutch residence permit as a Highly Skilled Migrant based on the lower salary threshold for recent graduates.

Background

In order to be eligible for a Dutch residence permit as a Highly Skilled Migrant, a foreign national is required to be employed by a recognised sponsor and meet the monthly salary threshold. The salary threshold is usually based on the age of the foreign national (younger or older than 30). However, the threshold is lower for foreign nationals who are eligible for an Orientation Year permit or already have an Orientation Year permit.

According to the IND, the Corona crisis has had a significant impact on the Dutch labour market. This is also the case for foreign nationals who were permitted to search for a job for one year based on the Orientation Year permit. This residence permit can be issued to foreign nationals who graduated in the Netherlands or abroad (at certain educational institutions) within the previous three years.

However due to the Corona crisis, the chances for these individuals to find a job in the Netherlands have been severely diminished. If they do not find a job at a recognised sponsor before their residence permit expires they are generally required to leave the Netherlands.

The IND has acknowledged this issue and highlighted how important key knowledge and skills are for the Netherlands. They therefore want to give recent graduates an increased chance of working and staying in the Netherlands. As a result, the IND decided to ease the eligibility criteria for the lower salary threshold for recent graduates. Until now foreign nationals were not eligible for the lower salary threshold if they did not find a job at a recognized sponsor before the Orientation Year permit expired (after one year). However, under the relaxed the criteria, employers may still be able to use the lower threshold for recent graduates in such cases.

The lower threshold now also applies to a foreign national who:

  • Has had a residence permit for an Orientation Year;
  • Has not found a job at a recognized sponsor before the Orientation Year permit expired; and
  • Has found a job with a recognized sponsor and submits a residence permit application as a Highly Skilled Migrant within three years of the graduation date.

This measure increases the chances of foreign graduates of finding a job in the Netherlands after their Orientation Year permit has expired.

What does this mean for you as an employer?

If you want to employ a foreign national as a Highly Skilled Migrant, we advise to assess whether the above is applicable. If this is the case, then the lower salary threshold will apply and the employee will not need to meet the higher age-based salary threshold.

It is not yet known how long these relaxed criteria will remain in place. However, it is expected that they will aply until the special measures limiting the spread of Covid-19 are lifted.

Contact us

Hugo Vijge

Hugo Vijge

Senior Manager, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)61 061 58 37

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