Visa Pathways for International Talent in the Netherlands

| Leiden International Centre

The Netherlands attracts people from around the globe to work, study, and live. Its popularity is often attributed to the many career opportunities and desirable work-life balance available here.  There are many different pathways to take to live and work here, whether temporary or long-term. If you want to be more informed on the options available when recruiting international talent, this guide will come in handy.  

If your employee is a national from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, he or she does not need a residence permit to live in the Netherlands but must register in the Dutch personal records database.  

Visa options 

In the case that they are from outside of the EU, EEA, or Switzerland here are the visa categories for which you can apply:   

  • Highly-skilled migrant  
  • Scientific Researchers 
  • Intra Corporate Transferee 
  • Dutch Start-up 
  • Dutch Start-up Personnel  
  • Holder of a European Blue Card  
  • Work experience (i.e. internship/traineeship) 
  • Seasonal work 

For certain residence purposes, you must become a recognized sponsor, while for others, you have the option to have your company/organisation register as a recognised sponsor ("erkende referent" in Dutch). See below for details.

High-skilled Migrant Visa 

A high-skilled migrant will work in a high-level, specialist position, or as a guest lecturer, trainee doctor, or researcher in paid employment. There is also a minimum salary requirement. 

If you want to hire highly-skilled migrants your company is required to be registered with the IND as a recognised sponsor. Find more information on this page

High-Skilled Migrant Visa in 5 Steps
IND High-skilled Migrant pdf 

Scientific Researchers 

If you want to hire a scientific researcher your organisation is required to be registered with the IND as a recognised sponsor. A scientific researcher works under Directive 2016/801/COD as a paid scientific researcher, PhD student, or an unpaid scientific researcher with a grant. Find more information on this page.  

IND Scientific Researcher pdf 

Becoming a Recognised Sponsor 

When hiring foreigners for the high-skilled migrant visa and/or researcher it is required to be registered with the IND as a recognised sponsor. You can be a sponsor for several employees at the same time. 

Companies, educational institutions, and organisations can become a recognised sponsor, whereas persons cannot. To become one, you must be a reliable partner for the IND. There is also an application fee. After recognition, your organisation will be listed in the Public Register for Recognised Sponsors. Find more information on this page

IND Recognised Sponsor pdf 
IND Public Register for Recognised Sponsors 

Intra-Corporate Transferee 

An employee who works at a company with its registered office outside the European Union as a manager, trainee, or specialist is transferred to a branch in the Netherlands. Find more information on this page

Dutch Start-up Visa 

Ambitious entrepreneurs from outside the EU, EEA, or Switzerland who want to launch an innovative business in the Netherlands can apply for a temporary Start-up personnel permit, valid for up to 1 year.  

During this time, you must develop an innovative new product or service under the guidance of an experienced facilitator. Find more information on this page

Dutch Start-up Visa in 5 Steps 
IND Dutch Start-up Visa pdf 

Essential Start-up Personnel Visa 

In addition, there is an umbrella visa under the Dutch Start-up Visa that is called the Residence Permit for Essential Start-up Personnel. This permit allows the start-up company to hire foreign talent by offering employees shares/options in the company.  

Next to the general conditions that apply to everyone, there are specific requirements that apply if you wish to hire foreign talent through the Start-up personnel permit in the Netherlands. Find more information on this page.  

Essential Start-up Personnel in 5 Steps 

For a breakdown of most of this information, you can look at these pages: 

If you’d like to see detailed information about all the resident permits available, you can do so on the IND website. When seeking advice on any of these visa pathways, we advise contacting the IND or immigration experts for specific information.  

Our partnered experts in immigration: 

  • LIMES International: provides guidance and support to companies and people who cross national borders for employment purposes and assists companies with cross-border employment in the areas of corporate tax, employee tax, and social security. 
  • De Clercq Advocaten: advises international companies and internationals on various areas of Dutch law such as employment law, immigration law, corporate law, intellectual property, privacy, real estate, and notary. 

Check out our tips for recruiting international talent