Working in the Netherlands: Work Permits For Highly-Skilled Migrants

A pen and a piece of paper on a brown background; Text reads Work Permit Approved

Do you need to contract a highly-skilled Non-EU citizen for a project?  Blue Lynx can help.

If you are a non-EU citizen who wants to work in the Netherlands, you may face a wall called the Work Permit. It can be all so confusing so allow Blue Lynx to help you get past this formality. We summarised all the important information for highly-skilled non-EU migrants and businesses in the Netherlands who want to hire them.

First things first: What Is the IND?

The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) is the administrative body in the Netherlands that implements all policies to do with foreigners and their living and working status in the country.

Who Is a Highly-Skilled Migrant?

A highly skilled migrant is a citizen of a non-EU country (including EEA country or Switzerland) who has a scarce professional skill that is needed by an employer in the Netherlands. When you are a highly skilled migrant and you have obtained employment in the Netherlands, you can only work once you have the knowledge migrant permit (work/resident).

Employers are responsible for obtaining the permit for the Knowledge Migrant.

With contracting, however, recruitment agencies are responsible for these permits as employees are hired through the agency.

Exceptions to this rule are Turkish citizens.  They can apply for HSM themselves and graduates in the Netherlands (or Master’s degree graduates from top 200 universities) who can apply for the Zoekjaar and refugees.

Want to Hire Highly-Skilled Non-EU Citizens?

You can employ highly skilled non-Eu citizens but you will need to sponsor them first. When you become a recognised sponsor by the IND, you will need to apply for and obtain a work permit in their name.

If you don’t want to go through the recognition process as an employer, you can use the help of a company that has the status with the IND, such as Blue Lynx. This way, you won’t waste time and money on getting recognised by the IND. We’ll take care of it all for you.

How Can Blue Lynx Help

We can:

  • Employ the non-EU skilled migrant and contract them to your organisation
  • Arrange the required work permit via the IND
  • When you hold the IND status we can also arrange a work permit for all your new non-EU citizen hires

We understand what it takes to be an expat – most of us are expats ourselves.

A highly-skilled female worker wearing a hijab

Blue Lynx Is a Registered Sponsor With the IND

We’ve helped many businesses hire highly-skilled migrant workers. We assist:

  • Established companies in the Netherlands that need guidance through the legal and administrative processes for obtaining the IND status themselves
  • Businesses outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland who want to open an office in the Netherlands and transfer their employees
  • Companies that have the IND status but not the resources to apply for the work permit(s) of the highly-skilled employees they want to hire
  • Companies that do not wish to obtain IND knowledge status themselves but want to hire staff through us
  • Employees who have received a job offer from one of Blue Lynx’s partners (employers sponsor those applications and we take care of the process)

We’ve applied for migrant status for people from all continents and have worked on a variety of cases.

IND salary minimum requirements for knowledge migrants 2024

Work permit type Age Gross 2024 salary
excluding mandatory holiday allowance
Highly Skilled Migrants (or ICT) 30 years old and above € 5,331 gross per month
Highly Skilled Migrants (or ICT) under 30 years old € 3,909 gross per month
Reduced salary criterion
(Zoekjaar – orientation year permit) applicable to certain graduates
recently graduated € 2,801 gross per month
European Blue Card ​€ 6,245 gross per month

NOTE: The salaries are excluding a mandatory holiday allowance of 8% (or 8.33% for temporary workers under ABU CLA)

Any 13th month and/or other allowances may only be taken into account if they have been contractually agreed upon and are paid out monthly to the employee’s bank account


Which amount applies to you or the highly skilled migrant you want to hire? Click HERE to find out.


Candidates, Blue Lynx can help you if: 

As for Our Business Clients:

  • we can help them obtain work permits for their employees
  • if they don’t have the Knowledge Migrant Status, we can get it for them
  • don’t have an established legal entity in the Netherlands or don’t want to hire staff directly
  • employ the people through Blue Lynx (as contractors)

What Is the EU Blue Card?

The EU Blue Card acts as a residence and work permit, which some highly-skilled migrants qualify for. Again, your employer will need to apply for you. Some of the criteria for eligibility include:

  • You have a Dutch work contract or job offer of at least 1 year – your EU Blue Card will be issued for the period of your work contract (with a 4-year maximum)
  • The gross monthly salary stated in your contract should equal or exceed ​€6,245 (as you will see in the table above)
  • You have completed a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from a specific university (which must be a Dutch equivalent)
  • You have a valid passport for at least 6 months from the application date


Facts to Take Into Account

When applying for a work permit, you must be aware that many countries have specific rules about the validity of documentation. Furthermore, some employers require documentation that may need validation.

  • What documentation is required
  • What required documents need legalising (apostille)
  • What documents must be originals
  • When lost documents need replacing – does the applicant need to pick them up in person from their town hall, their home country (this could take a lot of time)
  • Which documents can be legalised at the consulate in the Netherlands

We don’t want a situation where applicants have to return to their country of origin to obtain new documentation and/or apostilles.