Residency guide for non-EU employees

Residency guide for non-EU employees entering the Netherlands



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Are you interested to obtain residency in the Netherlands? INCO can assist non-EU nationals to obtain residency in the Netherlands. based on a preliminary check, we can guarantee (or explain the dependencies) if the residency will be granted. ​

The first step is to discuss with one of our immigration lawyers, which are happy to provide you more information, or do a free intake. Alternatively, our Support Pages provides a lot of information and brochures about getting residency in the Netherlands.


In practically all residency programs (and this applies for all countries) there is a distinction between the criteria for either entrepreneurs or employees.

It's typically considered easier for employees to obtain a work permit, assuming that these employees are considered ‘ highly skilled’ or have very specific skills (for which there is a shortage in the regional market).  Whereas for entrepreneurs, it’s more difficult for them to convince the Immigration officers that their company will have any added value for the Netherlands.

Entrepreneurs have to prepare a business plan, and show that they have a successful business, for which they will employ at least 3 staff members in The Netherlands. The potential success of the Dutch market entry is approached subjectively, even though the Dutch Immigration Service applies a point-system to consider the potential of the company. It will depend on the bureaucrat, how many points he will allocate to each of the categories of the application. Which makes it quite difficult to predict if the entrepreneurs visa will be granted, or not. Rest assured that, if you are a big brand like

IKEA, or a franchise, this process seems to be much less ‘subjective’ , and such companies are more likely to get the benefit of the doubt.

Entrepreneurs that need more time to employ new staff members, but are considered ‘innovative’, can apply for a Startup Visa with the help of a Dutch Facilitator. INCO is also familiar with this process, and at the moment we are in the process of becoming a recognised Facilitator for Dutch Startup’s as well.

Am i considered an employee?

If you receive salary from the company (based on the employment agreement), and own less than 25% of the Group (which owns the Dutch company), you can be considered an employee for residency purposes. Consider that your spouse is not allowed to also own shares.

Relocate staff members

There are several ways for Dutch businesses, to relocate non-EU staff members to the Netherlands, and ensure they will obtain a work permit:


European Blue Card (for highly paid University graduates)

If you decide to apply for an EU Blue Card then the following facts must be taken into consideration:


  • You have completed a college/ University degree of which the program has a minimum duration of 3 years.

  • Unless your diploma is from a Dutch educational institution, your diploma must undergo a diploma evaluation by the IDW/Nuffic (Dutch Office of the Evaluation of Foreign Credentials).

  • Next, you will need to have an employment contract with a Dutch entity. The employment agreement must be valid for at least 1 year;

  • You can not own a substantial shareholding in the company

  • Your gross monthly salary needs to be a minimum of €5,066 excluding of 8 % statutory holiday allowance ( i.e. €5,471.28
    inclusive of holiday allowance) which amounts to €65,655.36 per annum inclusive of holiday allowance). Since you are on the Dutch payroll, you will be eligible for the Dutch 30% tax concession.

  • Depending on the duration of your employment agreement, the EU Blue Card will be issued for a maximum of 4 years and can then be renewed.

ICT | Intra Company Transfer- Permit  (for (highly paid)  intra-Group relocations)

If you decide to apply for a residence permit via the ICT scheme then the following facts must be taken into consideration:

  • You must not own the full shares of the company. However, it is allowed to apply for this work permit, even as ‘entrepreneur’

  • You will need to be placed on the payroll of the foreign entity for at least 3 months before we can submit the application.

  • You will need to have an employment contract with the foreign entity that is valid for at least three months before we can submit the application.

  • Your gross monthly salary must be equivalent to at least €4,616 excluding 8% statutory holiday allowance, ( i.e. €4,669,92 inclusive of holiday allowance) which amounts to €56,039.04 per annum inclusive of holiday allowance).

  • Since you will remain on the payroll of the foreign entity, you are not eligible for the Dutch 30% tax concession.

  • Depending on the length of your employment contract, the ICT permit can be issued for a maximum of 3 years.

After this period you must change the permit to another status, such as the Highly Skilled Migrant Status.

The ICT scheme has been used by several clients of INCO. However, this scheme is not suitable for any kind of business. As mentioned, there should be an overseas head office, and the applicant is basically not allowed to own shares. Aside from that, the company must show a clear business case, which justifies the relocation of the staff member. Not only that, it should also make clear that the Dutch operation will be successful, and will enough financial means to pay the Dutch employees (to avoid any social welfare for these employees if the market entry does not succeed).

Highly Skilled Migrants- Professional Employment Organisation (PEO) in The Netherlands

If you are a highly skilled migrant, or a successful entrepreneurs, but you don’t meet the requirements as mentioned above, then INCO might have the solution for you.
The Netherlands has a unique residency program, for highly skilled migrants, which are employed by a recognised sponsor (as appointed by the Dutch immigration Office, the IND).
INCO Global Solutions is appointed as such ‘recognised’ Professional Employment Agency.

Such sponsorship status is difficult to obtain for newly incorporated (and non-active) Dutch companies (similar scenario as with the ICT scheme).

Please check our separate Fact Sheet on Highly Skilled Migrants.

Who can apply for this residency program in the Netherlands?

In order to obtain a Dutch residency, via INCO’s payrolling services, its important that you already have a Dutch business incorporated,  and that the relevant ‘employee’ (who will apply for the residency permit) is also  appointed as the director of the Dutch business. If there is no Dutch business incorporated yet, INCO can assist in this procedure.
It’s no problem if multiple directors are appointed in the Dutch business (owned and/or managed by the entrepreneur), as long as the Work Permit applicant is one of the director of the Dutch company.

The employee will be on the payroll for at least 4.616 EUR gross salary. This means that the salary slip will look like this (assuming the employee is eligible for the 30%- ruling):

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It show’s a total Employer’s expense of € 5.629,07 , of which € 3.847, 33 is received nett in the bank account of the employee. An amount of  368, 96 + € 73,79 is reserved for Holiday Allowance, and should not be considered a loss/expense if this would be received by the entrepreneur as well.
Nevertheless, at first glance the Wage/Income taxes seem substantial.

There are ways to avoid paying social contribution or wage taxes in The Netherlands. This will depend on your situation, but it would significantly reduce the tax burden. You can contact us for more information on this topic.

The total employer costs consist of:

Gross salary € 4500
Holiday Allowance (reservation) € 432
Social security premiums € 619.29
Total employer's expenses € 5551.29 

Please note that the social contribution fees may vary, and need annual indexing (contact us for the latest percentages).

Application of your own Highly Skilled Migrant- Sponsorship Status

One your Dutch business has been operational for a few months, and developed it’s business (and/or appointed local staff members, and is making a good profit), it can also apply for the recognised sponsorship status. This way, the ‘employee’ who received it’s residency in the Netherlands via INCO’s payroll services first, can now be employed by the Dutch business itself.

In order to apply for the HMS permit, The newly incorporated Dutch company will have to apply for a sponsorship status first. This can take several months, and will require a proper business plan and financial forecast. So this will create a delay that you have not anticipated.

By using an Employment Agency in the meantime, you can ensure that you can activate your Dutch business, and make sure that you will meet the requirements to become a local sp

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