Highly skilled migrants - Netherlands
Jobseekers Visa

Can I become a highly skilled migrant to the Netherlands – even if I haven't got a job yet?
If you are well qualified, but do not yet have a job in the Netherlands, you can get an entry visa – an 'authorisation for temporary stay' (MVV) – and then apply for a one-year residence permit. During that year, you can look for employment as a 'highly skilled migrant' or start up an innovative company.

To be eligible, you must be in possession of one of the following diplomas or certificates, which must have been issued within the past three years:
- a master's degree or doctorate from a recognised Dutch institution of higher education listed in the Central Register of Higher Education Study Programmes (CROHO) or
- a master's degree or doctorate from a non-Dutch institution of higher education which is ranked in the top 150 establishments in either the Times Higher Education 2007 list or the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2007 issued by Jiao Ton Shanghai University in 2007. The certificate or diploma must also be approved by the Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education (NUFFIC). To obtain this approval, you need to send your document(s) to: NUFFIC, Postbus 29777, 2502 LT Den Haag, The Netherlands.

If your diploma is in a language other than Dutch, English, French or German, you must have it translated by a sworn translator before you send it to NUFFIC.

You will have an advantage if:
• you are under 40 years of age;
• you have worked or studied in the Netherlands before;
• you speak Dutch or English;
• you hold a bachelor's or master's degree or a doctorate from a higher education institution in a European country that is a signatory to the Bologna Declaration.

How do I become a highly skilled migrant?

You can become a highly skilled migrant if:
a) your employer has been admitted to the 'Highly Skilled Migrants Scheme' organised by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) and
you will be earning a gross contract salary of at least €25,800 a year. (This minimum figure will be updated every year) or
b) you obtain a residence permit as a self-employed person, on the basis that you are already well qualified (see above for the educational requirements) and that the company you intend to start serves an essential economic purpose in the Netherlands. This will be assessed in terms of:
- your personal background (education and training, entrepreneurship and work experience);
- your business plan (market analysis, product/service; pricing; organisation; finance);
- the added value for the Netherlands (innovation, job creation and investment opportunities).
- if you qualify for a residence permit under these conditions, you do not need a work permit.

Do I need a work permit in order to work in the Netherlands?

Once a designated highly skilled migrant has a contract of employment, the employer does not need to apply for a work permit. However, if you do not yet meet the requirements to become a highly skilled migrant, your prospective employer will have to obtain a work permit for you before he can employ you.

What if I can't find suitable work as a highly skilled migrant, or fail to start up an innovative company during my year of temporary residence? Am I still allowed to stay in the Netherlands?
Yes, providing you meet alternative residence criteria, such as having paid employment. But in that case, your prospective employer will have to obtain a work permit for you.

Do I have to prove that I have enough money before moving to the Netherlands?
No, that isn't necessary. You are allowed to work in the Netherlands. But unless you find work as a highly skilled migrant, your employer will have to apply for a work permit for you. In practice, obtaining a work permit for non-EU nationals is difficult and time-consuming. Bear in mind that you are not entitled to any financial assistance from the Dutch government.

Can I bring my partner and children to the Netherlands?

Yes, provided you can prove that your income is adequate. If you do not have any independent income, you must be able to prove that you have an employment contract for at least twelve months, with a monthly salary of at least €1,464 (as of January 2009). (This minimum figure will be updated every six months).

Is my partner allowed to work in the Netherlands?
In principle, yes. But only if the prospective employer has obtained a work permit (TWV) for him/her as a non-EU national. Once you are employed as a highly skilled migrant, you will be issued with a residence permit which states that your employer is exempt from the work permit requirement. At the same time, your partner will receive a new residence permit exempting his/her employer from the work permit requirement.

After completing my studies in the Netherlands, I was granted a year to find work as a highly skilled migrant. Am I entitled to apply for a second year?
No, the maximum time allowed is one year.

How much does an entry visa for the Netherlands cost and how long will it take for me to get one?
Anyone wishing to stay in the Netherlands for an uninterrupted period of more than three months must apply for an authorisation for temporary stay (an MVV). You need an MVV in order to apply for a residence permit. The MVV costs €433. After your payment has been received, you will usually hear within four weeks whether your application for an MVV has been successful.

How much will a Dutch visa cost for my partner and children?
If you apply for MVVs for all your family members at the same time – assuming you can prove that you have sufficient independent income – the cost will be €188 per person. An MVV is valid for entry into the Netherlands during a period of 6 months. If your partner applies for a MVV while you are already in the Netherlands, he or she will have to pay €830, plus €188 per accompanying child.

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