11 min read

How to Sponsor an Employee Work Visa Through the Highly Skilled Migrant (HSM) Scheme

Global mobility


Jemima Owen-Jones


May 23, 2024

Last Update

July 12, 2024

Table of Contents

1. Establish if you must sponsor the worker’s visa

2. Become a recognized visa sponsor

3. Check the employment offer meets IND requirements

4. File for the HSM

5. Await IND’s decision and collect the HSM permit

Say goodbye to uncertainty in the visa process with Deel

Key takeaways
  1. To facilitate talent relocation to the Netherlands, you must first become a recognized sponsor. Following this, you must apply for a Highly Skilled Migrant (HSM) permit. Additionally, depending on the worker’s country of residence, you may need to apply for a provisional residence permit (MVV).
  2. You and the employee must undergo a series of meticulous checks, including screening and financial assessments.
  3. The Netherlands visa application procedure can be complex and demanding, so it’s often best to enlist an experienced immigration service provider like Deel.

Many businesses relocate foreign workers to the Netherlands via the Highly Skilled Migrant (HSM) 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.

Need to check eligibility before you hire a highly skilled migrant? With Deel’s Immigration platform, you can run a visa eligibility check in seconds. Alternatively, schedule a call with a Deel Immigration expert to establish the best visa route for your talent.


The employer is responsible for securing the work visa and filing for a Dutch residence permit through the HSM scheme).

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 a hands-off approach.

If you’d like to handle the visa application yourself, our guide covers the essential steps you must take.

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 cardholders

If the worker doesn’t fall into one of these categories, employers usually have to apply for a single permit called a GVVA. This document is a combination of the residence and employment permits that cover their right to 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.

Only those with 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, showing 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

Need help obtaining your sponsor license?

Deel can assess your eligibility, handle the application process, and submit all required documents to ensure you’re fully licensed and ready to sponsor top-talent visas efficiently.

If you don’t meet the specific requirements to become a sponsor, Deel’s EOR visa sponsorship service provides a simple and accelerated solution to visa sponsorship. Businesses can hire and relocate employees and their dependents to the Netherlands through Deel’s local entity for a streamlined and hands-off visa procurement process.


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:

Step 3. File the application form

Once you’ve completed the necessary paperwork, send it by post to the IND. If successful, you’ll receive a response and a certificate within three months of submission.

You must also 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 Immigration can help you manage employment records and expiring visas. The platform will provide timely reminders and alerts for upcoming visa renewal or extension deadlines. Additionally, we can handle all future applications on your behalf.

Deel Immigration
Get worldwide visas without the legwork
Hire and retain the best global talent, while smoothing out the usual visa hurdles. Deel’s in-house immigration support handles the entire visa process, enabling employees to work from 30+ countries—and counting.

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.

Need support running payroll for a global team? Deel is the only provider to combine immigration, HR, and payroll in one system, so you can get a clear view of your entire organization. Our in-house team handles it all—from visa sponsorship to onboarding—and can take care of payroll, tax filing, and more.

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:

  • Australia

  • Canada

  • Japan

  • Monaco

  • 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.

With Deel Immigration, preparing supporting documentation is easy. Deel will onboard the applicant onto the user-friendly platform. They’ll be assigned a case manager and asked to provide their personal details and upload supporting documentation to the platform.


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.

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.

With Deel Immigration, the employer and applicant can track the visa progress on the Deel dashboard and receive email notifications. Our case managers are also on standby to handle any questions or concerns.

Learn how to onboard new hires in the Netherlands in as little as two days with Deel.

I’ve never come across a team that moves so quickly, responds to questions in almost real-time and yet is so detail-oriented. After working with them, I wouldn’t consider working with anyone else for my immigration needs. They’re simply spectacular.

Mohak Nahta,

Founder and CEO

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 a worker’s visa through your own entity while Deel handles the application process end-to-end

  • Have Deel hire and sponsor your applicant’s visa if you don’t meet the sponsorship criteria

  • Monitor immigration 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

  • Administer benefits, including any health insurance required for visa applications

  • Manage global payroll

Ensure the most seamless visa process for you and your applicants. Discover more about Deel’s visa and immigration services, or book 30 minutes with a product expert.

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.

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