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Lower salary requirements highly skilled migrants for start-ups

Starting and expanding an innovative company is often a complex and risky process. As a growing company, it is very important for start-ups to recruit the right persons with the right (often technical) knowledge. Many established companies are able to make use of the highly skilled migrant visa to attract skilled workers to the Netherlands. Start-ups often had difficulty using this scheme because of the high salary requirements. As of 1 June 2021 the salary requirements have been changed in order to make it easier for start-ups to hire specialized employees from abroad.

Old salary requirements

To attract top talent, it is common for start-ups to pay a lower salary, compensated by providing shares and to attract staff from abroad, which is important for the growth of the company. In addition to the requirement to register the company as a recognized sponsor (which is not an easy process), the companies are obliged to pay a salary of at least EUR 4.752 gross per month, excluding holiday allowance if the highly skilled migrant is over 30 years old and EUR 3.484 gross per month excluding holiday allowance if the highly skilled migrant is younger than 30. Only if an employee has a degree from a Dutch university or another universities in Europe a lower salary requirement of EUR 2.497 (excluding holiday allowance) can be applicable.

What will change?

In order for young start-ups to keep innovating and growing, specialized personnel is needed. Many start-ups however were unable to use the highly skilled migrant visa because of the relatively high salary requirements and difficulty in becoming a recognized sponsor. For this reason as of 1 June 2021 Dutch authorities have started a pilot to simplify the salary requirement for start-ups. According the pilot, the companies that meet the following conditions will be allowed to pay EUR 2.497 gross per month excluding holiday allowance to the highly skilled migrants.

Conditions lower salary highly skilled migrants as of 1 June 2021

The main conditions for the residence permit for essential start-up personnel are:

  • the highly skilled migrants will work in paid employment at a starting and innovative company;
  • the start-up has a maximum of 15 employees;
  • a maximum of 5 highly skilled migrants of the start-up will receive a residence permit for essential start-up personnel;
  • the highly skilled migrant will receive a salary of at least the reduced salary criterion for highly skilled migrants (at this moment EUR 2.497 gross excluding holiday allowance);
  • the highly skilled migrant has an employee participation of at least 1% in the start-up company. This participation can also be in the form of stock options or shares without voting rights.

Duration of residence permit pilot

The essential start-up personnel pilot will last for 4 years and will end on 1 June 2025. Employees may continue to work at the start-up for up to 1 year after the end of the pilot according to the scheme.

Application procedure

After filing the application, the Dutch Immigration Services will file a request for advice with the Dutch Enterprise Agency (RVO). The RVO will  assess the start-up, the role of the highly skilled migrant to be recruited and his/her participation in the company.

Looking for more?

Are you a start-up in the Netherlands looking to hire skilled personnel from abroad? Or do you want more information about the possibilities for your company? Please feel free to contact our Global Mobility Team.

Crowe Peak
Olympisch Stadion 24-28 1076 DE Amsterdam, The Netherlands
+3188 2055 000 contact@crowe-peak.nl