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The special start-up scheme allowing starting entrepreneurs to come to the Netherlands since 2015 has been a success. The purpose of attracting several dozens of starting innovative entrepreneurs from outside the EU has been achieved. The scheme contributes to the retention and expansion of knowledge in the Netherlands. This becomes evident from the evaluation ´Started Successfully?’ (only in Dutch), which was presented this summer.
From the evaluation, carried out by the research department of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), it becomes clear that a portion of the applicants for a start-up residence permit stayed in the Netherlands before as a student. The start-up residence permit is valid for one year and cannot be extended. After that year, entrepreneurs can apply for residency in the context of the self-employment scheme. From the evaluation, it becomes clear that at the end, more than half of the start-ups want to stay in the Netherlands after this year.
Start-ups happy with service by IND and RVO
The majority of the starting entrepreneurs are happy with the service by the IND and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (in Dutch: Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland or RVO). In most cases, the IND decides within the legal decision period. The RVO and involved facilitators (mentors of the start-ups in the Netherlands) are enthusiastic about the quality of the applying start-ups.
Room for improvement
Besides the confirmation that the scheme contributes to making the Dutch business and entrepreneurial climate more attractive, the researchers see some aspects that can be improved. One of these is the extension of the start-up permit, so that entrepreneurs can have more time to meet the conditions for extension of the self-employment scheme. Because of this, there is a greater chance that the starting entrepreneur can stay in the Netherlands. In addition, the provision of services to start-ups can be improved further. For example by always making it possible to submit an application digitally and have communication always take place in English. The researchers also recommend more focused promotion of the start-up scheme in countries where entrepreneurs come from.
Who are coming?
Between 2015 and 2021, a little less than 1000 innovative starting entrepreneurs in total submitted an application. Of these 1000 applications, 65% were granted. These persons had 79 different nationalities. Applications were most frequently submitted by entrepreneurs from India (16%), followed by Iran (10%), Russia (8%) and America (7%). Three quarters of the applicants were male and the average age of the applicants was between 30 and 40 years old. The starting entrepreneurs most often work in the ICT, Life sciences & health and creative industry (films, games, video) sectors.