How to Get a Work Visa in the Netherlands
Need help onboarding international talent?
- Relocating talent to the Netherlands involves identifying the appropriate visa category, becoming a recognized sponsor, and filing an application for a permit.
- You and the employee must undergo a series of meticulous checks including screening and financial assessments.
- The Netherlands visa application process can be complex and demanding, which is why it’s often best to enlist an experienced immigration service provider like Deel.
When relocating foreign candidates to the Netherlands, it’s your responsibility as the employer to secure the work visa. Many applicants file for a Dutch residence permit through the Highly Skilled Migrant scheme (HSM).
You have two main options—either secure a sponsorship license and apply for the HSM yourself or use a visa organization like Deel to manage the application on your behalf. Outsourcing is a better choice if you aren’t familiar with the Dutch immigration system or prefer to take a hands-off approach.
If you’d like to handle the visa application yourself, our guide covers the essential steps you must take.
1. Establish if you must sponsor the worker’s visa
Depending on the employee’s nationality and the type of work they’ll be doing, they may already have the right to work in the Netherlands. Visa exemptions are given to:
- Citizens of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland
- Short stays (up to 90 days)
- Refugees and asylum seekers
- Self-employed professionals
- Family members of exempt visa holders
- European blue card holders
Employers usually have to apply for a single permit called a GVVA if their workers don’t fall into one of these categories. This document is a combination of the residence and employment permits that covers their right to both live and work in the Netherlands.
However, you may only have to sponsor employees for residency if they’re highly skilled, intra-corporate transfers (ICT), or trainees.
Many businesses opt for the Highly Skilled Migrant scheme as you don’t have to obtain the TWV work permit and undergo job market testing. The application process tends to be more cost-effective and efficient than other visa types.
Foreign workers are eligible provided the job offer meets the salary requirements for their age group.
2. Become a recognized visa sponsor
Only those who have a sponsorship license with the Dutch immigration office can file for HSM visas. However, it’s a worthwhile step as immigration officials will fast-track your application and potentially reduce the process from 90 days to as little as two weeks.
Here are the steps you can take to register as a Dutch employer with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND):
Step 1. Check your eligibility
Your organization must meet specific requirements to demonstrate its reliability and trustworthiness and thereby show it can fulfill its commitments to foreign workers. There are three main conditions:
- Registration with the Kamer van Koophandel (KVK): Your business must be on the Netherlands commercial register to prove its legitimacy
- Financial solvency: You must have the means to pay expat workers and potentially pass an assessment by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)
- Organizational integrity: Other members of your company must also be reputable with clean criminal records checks
Step 2. Collect the paperwork
You must support your application with documents. The paperwork required depends on your type of business and the workers you intend to sponsor but frequently includes:
- A signed copy of the application form
- Your business and contact details
- Notarized deeds
- Criminal record checks
- Employee payroll records or org charts
- Annual accounts and balance sheets
- A declaration of fiscal compliance
Step 3. File the application form
Once you’ve completed the necessary paperwork, send it by post to the IND. You’ll hear a response and, if successful, receive your certificate within three months of submission.
You also have to pay the application fees, which depend on your business setup. The standard fees are €4560 ($4990 USD). However, there’s a reduced cost of € 2279 ($2500) if you have fewer than 50 employees.
Step 4. Stay compliant with IND conditions
To maintain your status as a recognized sponsor, you must follow certain rules:
- Notifying the IND about changes that may affect your workers’ visa eligibility or your ability to employ them
- Keeping records of the foreign nationals you employ
- Ensuring workers leave the Netherlands at the end of their visa
If you fail to comply with these requirements, you may receive a fine as well as lose your recognized sponsorship status.
Deel is already a legal entity in the Netherlands, so we can hire and sponsor workers on your behalf. We assume responsibility for any liabilities related to hiring, visa sponsorship, and administration.
Learn how you could onboard new hires in the Netherlands in as little as two days with Deel.
3. Check the employment offer meets IND requirements
IND only approves HSM applications if they meet specific conditions. It’s best to check you meet them and make any necessary adjustments before you file.
The minimum income requirements, excluding bonus and holiday pay, are:
- €2801 ($3070) for graduates of a Dutch university
- €3909 ($4280) for workers under the age of 30
- €5331 ($5841) for workers over the age of 30
The contract must also state that you’ll pay the worker directly to their bank account in twelve installments throughout the year.
4. File for the HSM
Depending on your employee’s nationality, they may need extra documentation. Follow Scenario A unless they’re citizens from one of the following countries:
- New Zealand
- Vatican City
- United Kingdom
- United States
- South Korea
Regardless of the route you take, you need to provide the following documents, legalized and translated into either English, French, German, or Dutch.
- A valid travel document
- Two passport-sized photos
- The employer’s signed declaration
- An employment contract or job offer
- The worker’s CV
- Academic certificates
- A criminal record check
Unless your employee comes from one of the countries on this list, they must also declare their intention to take a tuberculosis test within the first three months of their visa. They should bring the TB form when they attend the appointment.
Scenario A: File for the HSM and MVV
You have to file for a provisional residence permit (MVV) at the same time as the HSM. The MVV entitles your worker to a sticker on their passport saying they’re allowed in the country beyond the initial 90-day period.
The worker must fill in the required sections of the MVV form and make an appointment with the Dutch embassy in their home country (or the nearest one if that’s not possible). An embassy staff member will verify their documents, collect biometric data, and complete the form.
Then, as the sponsor, you must take the following steps:
- Collect the MVV form and supporting documents
- Complete the required sections for the sponsor
- Send the completed forms either online or by post within three weeks
- Pay the €350 ($382) fees by direct debit
Scenario B: File for the HSM alone
If your worker is exempt from the MVV, they can enter the Netherlands while you apply for the HSM.
You can apply online or by post. If you’d like to apply in writing, download the HSM form and send the completed copy to IND along with all the supporting documents. Otherwise, you can apply via the IND business portal and upload the required forms.
Like scenario A, you must make a direct debit of €350 to IND for the application fees.
💡 Deel’s dedicated team of immigration experts can manage your visa applications. From the paperwork to the background checks, we ensure every step is quick and stress-free.
Everyone involved in the process can track the visa progress on the Deel dashboard or receive email notifications. Our case managers are also on standby to handle any questions or concerns.
5. Await IND’s decision and collect the HSM permit
The visa approval process takes up to 90 days but may be longer if the permit application isn’t complete. You’ll receive a message if further information is required.
While waiting, applicants in the Netherlands can apply for a residence endorsement sticker to begin working. They need to make an appointment at IND and bring their passport.
If you’re unsuccessful, you can object and potentially reopen the application.
If you’re approved, the worker can make an appointment to collect the HSM permit. Applicants outside the Netherlands can get the forms from their local embassy before traveling into the country.
Once your worker has the HCM, it’s valid for the length of their work contract with a maximum of five years. They have the option to renew the permit.
Say goodbye to uncertainty in the visa process with Deel
Eliminating the guesswork from visa processes has never been easier. With Deel, you have everything you need to support your recruitment team and foreign candidates.
Use Deel’s HR and immigration solution to:
- Verify each candidate’s visa eligibility before drafting work contracts
- Sponsor applicant visas via our employer of record (EOR) services
- Monitor document expiration dates and receive alerts on possible compliance issues
- Develop work contracts that comply with local and international laws
- Conduct screening and background checks
- Handle processes in the Netherlands, including registration, social security, and the permit
- Administer benefits, including any health insurance required for visa applications
- Manage global payroll
Masha Sutherlin, Director of Mobility and Corporate Legal, Deel
Disclaimer: Be aware that this article is not a substitute for legal advice. Please always check official websites or seek legal advice before you take action.