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Dutch law recognizes various legal forms of companies, including a one-person business, a private limited company, and various partnerships (general, limited, and professional).
The Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel) offers detailed information and advice in English on how to begin a company in the Netherlands. In addition, the Dutch government has developed an on-demand webinar on starting a business in the Netherlands.
There is a special procedure for obtaining residence permits for entrepreneurs who come from outside of the EU. Various specific conditions must be fulfilled before the residence permit is granted. 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.
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 5726 euros, or 2638 euros for companies with less than 50 people). 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:
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.
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.