"In 2015 12,320 permit applications for highly skilled migrants were filed. The top three nationalities of residence permits granted are: India, USA and China."

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Dutch Highly Skilled Migrant Program

As a rule, a company that wants to employ and file for visa and work permit applications for highly skilled migrants from outside the EU must be approved as recognised sponsor by the Dutch Immigration Service. The Government fee for the aplication to become a recognised sponsor is € 5276 for companies having more than 50 employees, and €2638 for start-ups and companies having no more than 50 employees.

For companies existing for longer than 1.5 years this application procedure is relatively straightforward. If no penalties have been imposed for breach of the Act on Employment of Foreigners, and the company has paid all social security contributions and taxes, the application to become a recognised sponsor, will be approved within 6 weeks.

Companies existing less than 1.5 year, however have to go through a thorough assessment by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. This assessment may take up to 3 months, making the application procedure in total 4 to 5 months.

This lenghty procedure is changed as of 1 April 2016 for four categories of companies:

  1. The company is a full daughter company of a company that is already a recognised sponsor.
  2. The company is the result of a merger between companies, and the merged companies are recognised sponsors.
  3. The company is taken over by a company that is already a recognised sponsor.
  4. The legal entity of the company that is a recognised sponsor has changed, and the notary deed of the new legal entity shows that the commercial activities of the new company have not been expanded, and the control or management in the company have remained the same.

Companies that are established within 1.5 years and fall within one of the 4 categories listed above, will also follow the fast track approval procedure.