Moving a Business
If you have a well-established business in your home country, you might plan to move your business here. The Netherlands, which is part of the European Union, is a pro-business country that is well-equipped to accommodate international trade.
The Northern Netherlands has its own seaport (Delfzijl), ample space to build, and a convenient position with good links to both the United Kingdom and continental Europe.
Moving a company that is already based in an EU-member state is an easy process, and the Dutch Chamber of Commerce has detailed information in English on conducting business in the Netherlands.
One potential issue is how to employ international staff from non-EU countries legally. Please check the list of suggestions below 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.
The Chamber of Commerce’s website offers detailed information in English on how to start a business.
Apply for recognized sponsorship from the IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service).
In order 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 one and three months and costs a one-time fee (as of 2023, that price is €4,326, or €2,162 for small businesses with under 50 people). The IND process and application forms can be found here.
There are several classifications of non-EU employees. Two of the most common types are listed below:
The advantage of being a recognized sponsor is that if an 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 take between 7 weeks to 3 months to decide on the single GVVA (gecombineerde vergunning verblijf en arbeid) application. The GVVA application will be sent to the UWV (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen; Employee Insurance Agency) to decide on the work permit portion. The employer must demonstrate there are no suitable candidates within the Netherlands, 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 in the Netherlands and meet specific conditions. This investment only allows 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 from outside of the EU. Various conditions must be met, and if they 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 and recruitment agencies can employ non-EU internationals if the agency is registered as a recognized sponsor with the IND. In that case, the international employee can be seconded or re-assigned to the company.
5. Buy an existing company
Many Dutch companies are already registered as recognized sponsors with the IND to hire non-EU workers. It may therefore be possible to acquire an existing company and employ internationals through this company.