The IND and the Inspectorate of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) fiercely combat employers who do not abide by the rules laid down in the highly skilled migrant scheme.
In a joint inspection project, 24 employers of highly skilled migrants were visited that were selected by the IND based on a combination of indicators. A third of these employers was fined because actual malpractices were found. In addition, the recognition of a number of companies – enabling them to employ highly skilled migrants quickly – has been revoked and the residence permits of highly skilled migrants have been revoked. The SZW Inspectorate imposed fines on eight enterprises, totalling 65,000 euros.
The inspectors observed some remarkable practices during the investigation. In a number of enterprises, no or limited activity was noticeable. For instance, an entrepreneur only sent ten invoices in a period of five years and he was unable to name his five customers. In addition, the activities undertaken in practice differed from those that were initially recorded in the business plan and on the basis of which recognition had been obtained. An enterprise intended, for example, to run a business in e-bikes. The director and also sole employee / highly skilled migrant abandoned this plan and 'switched' to roasted nuts. In six cases, the highly skilled migrants also turned out to be directors of the enterprises. In addition, inspectors regularly saw revenues that scarcely covered the labour costs and there was often a deficit.
This project is the first time that the SZW Inspectorate and the IND jointly inspect companies that employ highly skilled migrants. The SZW Inspectorate checks whether the migrant is allowed to work in the Netherlands and whether they are paid sufficiently. For instance, a highly skilled migrant older than 30 years must currently earn at least 4404 euros. The IND enforces the migration policy and checks whether the recognised sponsor meets the required obligations and qualifications. For instance, highly skilled migrants must be recruited and selected correctly, all relevant information is subject to an obligation to record and inform and the company must be viable and reliable. The effect of the joint inspections was a reason for the SZW Inspectorate and the IND to decide to continue the collaboration in 2019.
Highly skilled migrants may work in the Netherlands for employers who have the status of 'recognised sponsor'. A recognised sponsor may employ a highly skilled migrant and facilitate their entry into the Netherlands through an accelerated procedure. The recognised sponsor must, among other things, make sure that the recruitment and selection of highly skilled migrants is done carefully, the IND is informed on time about changes in, for example, the departure of the highly skilled migrant or relocation of the administration of the enterprise, keep records, and retain the employee's salary details. By now, the IND has given the status of recognised sponsor (for the category of labour) to around 4,730 companies. In 2017, around 13,920 highly skilled migrant permits were granted.