Employ international talent

Employ international talent

You want to employ international talent as a company or organisation. This can be a complicated process, especially when you are hiring international talent. When you are looking to hire non-European employees, you need to take into account that you will probably need to get them a residence or work permit or a visa. Also, labour law in the Netherlands may be different than you are used to.

Permits and visas

Whether your employee needs a permit and/or visa depends on their nationality and the duration of their stay in the Netherlands.

European employees

Please note that the rules below do not apply for employees with the nationality of an EU/EEA Member State or Switzerland. The free movement of persons applies to them, so they are free to work in the Netherlands. These employees do not need a residence permit to live in the Netherlands.

Other international employees

Stay of less than 90 days in the Netherlands – short-stay visa

Does the employee come to the Netherlands to work for less than 90 days, than he often needs a short-stay visa. You often also have to apply for a work permit (TWV). The stay in the Netherlands is also viewed as a short stay when the employee is a cross-border worker.

Stay of more than 90 days in the Netherlands – residence permit

If the international is staying more than 90 days, the employer files an application for a residence permit with or without a provisional residence permit (MVV), depending on the country of origin of the international.

There are various residence permits for working in the Netherlands. Which residence permit your employee needs often depends on the type of job and salary.

Please note the links to the IND pages are written towards the international employee. As the employer you can always start the application for your employee. Sometimes you are obliged to start the application.

Highly skilled migrant

The employee will work in a high-level or specialist position, or as a (guest) lecturer, trainee doctor or researcher in paid employment. Specific salary requirements apply. Your business or organisation must be recognised as a sponsor by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). Your will have to pay a fee for the recognition as a sponsor and for each new application.

Intra Corporate Transferee

The employee works at a company with its registered office outside the European Union (EU) as a trainee, manager or specialist and is transferred to a branch in the Netherlands.

Scientific researchers

The employee will work as a researcher within the meaning of Council Directive (EU) 2016/801. He/she does not have to be paid a salary; he/she may also receive a grant. Your research institution must be recognised as a sponsor by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).

International graduates

If you are looking to hire international talent recently graduated from university, the orientation year permit for highly educated persons can help you get this graduate to stay in the Netherlands. This permit allows recent graduates from non-EU countries and scientific researchers to stay in or come to the Netherlands for a period of up to 12 months. During this 1-year period, the graduate can work in any type of jobs. Before the end of the year, an application for work as a highly-skilled migrant should be submitted. Different salary requirements apply for the highly skilled migrant scheme if you had an orientation year permit before.


The residence permit for foreign start-ups is primarily targeted at ambitious entrepreneurs from non-EU countries. This permit gives you 1 year to launch an innovative business. A precondition is that your start-up must be guided by an experienced mentor (facilitator) based in the Netherlands. Also, your product or service needs to be innovative.

Recognized sponsor

If you want to hire highly skilled migrants and researches, you will need to be recognised as a sponsor by the IND. A sponsor is a person or organisation having an interest in the residence of a third-country national in the Netherlands. When you engage a foreign employee, you are the sponsor for this employee. You can be a sponsor for several employees at the same time. As an employer, you can have your company be recognised as a sponsor by the IND.

30% ruling

The Dutch government is keen to make working in the Netherlands attractive for internationals, especially for highly skilled migrants. These are internationals that have a specific expertise which is scarce in the Dutch labour market. As an internationals you can make use of the ‘30% ruling’. This tax reimbursement scheme is designed to compensate the expenses you have as a foreign employee, due to temporary residence in the Netherlands (extraterritorial costs), such as housing, travel costs, childcare or international education.

Under this rule, the employer may grant an employee a free (untaxed) reimbursement for the extraterritorial costs that you incur. If the application has been granted by the tax office, 30% of the employee’s taxable income is exempt from taxation.

Dutch labour law and work contracts

Dutch employment law is extensive, covering issues such as trial periods, temporary contracts, paid vacation, notice and dismissal and minimum wage. For example, a work contract specifies the employee’s salary, outlines working hours and rest times and indicates arrangement of an employee pension scheme. Contracts can be fixed-term or permanent, but there is a limit on how long an employee can be working on temporary contracts – they automatically enter into permanent employment starting with the fourth consecutive contract or after two years, whichever comes first.