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Move your company to the Netherlands

Moving a company to the Netherlands or beginning a company here involves a variety of issues. One potential issue is how to legally employ international staff whose nationality is from a country that lies outside of the EU. We give here a list of suggestions on how to obtain residence and work permits for non-EU international staff.

1. Set up your company

  • Register the company with the Chamber of Commerce.
    Their website offers detailed information in English on how to start a business.
  • Apply for recognized sponsorship from the IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service).
    To employ international staff from outside of the EU, the company should consider becoming a recognized sponsor for the IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service). Being a recognized sponsor means that the procedures to employ non-EU international staff are simplified and accelerated. The application process to become a recognized sponsor can take between 1- 3 months and costs a one-time fee (currently 5116 euros). The IND produces an English brochure describing the process and the application form is available in English as well.
  • There are several classifications of non-EU employees, and two of the most common types are listed below:
    Highly-skilled migrants
    The advantage of being a recognized sponsor is that if the employee fits the criteria for a highly-skilled migrant, a work permit is not required and the IND will decide on the highly-skilled migrant application within 2 weeks. For more information on the specific conditions, please visit the highly-skilled migrant section of the IND website.
    Labor migrants
    If the employee does not fit the criteria for a highly-skilled migrant, a work permit is required and the IND will decide between 7 weeks and 3 months on the single GVVA application. The GVVA application will be sent to the UWV to decide on the work permit portion. For this, the employer must prove that there are no suitable candidates within the NL and there are specific procedures for this. For more information on the specific conditions, please visit the labor migrant section of the IND website.

2. Invest in the Netherlands

  • The investor must be prepared to invest 1.25 million euros in the Netherlands and under specific conditions. This investment allows only the investor to receive a residence permit. For more information on the specific conditions, please visit the investor section of the IND website.
  • If the investor wants to employ non-EU international workers, the company should consider becoming a recognized sponsor with the IND (see details in Suggestion 1 above).

3. Begin a start-up company

  • This procedure is aimed at entrepreneurs who come from outside of the EU. Various conditions must be fulfilled. If the criteria are fulfilled, the entrepreneur will receive a residence/work permit for one year. For more information on the specific conditions, please visit the start-up section of the IND website.
  • If the entrepreneur wants to employ non-EU international workers, the company should consider becoming a recognized sponsor with the IND (see details in Suggestion 1 above).

4. Use an employment agency

  • Some employment or recruitments agencies are able to employ non-EU internationals if the agency is registered as a recognized sponsor with the IND. The international could then be seconded or re-assigned to the company.

5. Buy an existing company

  • Many Dutch companies have already registered as a recognized sponsor with the IND to hire non-EU workers. It may thus be possilbe to acquire an existing company and be able to employ internationals through this company.