Highly skilled migrant

Last update: 8 December 2022

You need a residence permit to work in the Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant. Only an employer recognised by the IND can apply for a residence permit for you. Read what the requirements are and how you, as an employer, can apply for the residence permit.

Other rules apply if you have an employment contract with an company located outside the EU and you are going to be transferred as a manager, specialist or trainee. Then you are an Intra Corporate Transferee and other requirements apply to you.


Other rules may apply to Turkish citizens and their family members

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Process and costs

These are the steps in the application process for the residence permit:

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Application forms

Your employer can submit this application online. You must have DigiD with SMS verification and internet banking (iDEAL).

The residence permit

Other things you need to know about the residence permit:

TB test

Did your employer indicate at the time of the application that you will take a TB (tuberculosis) test? Then make an appointment at the Municipal Health Service (in Dutch: Gemeentelijke Gezondheidsdienst or GGD). Do this within 3 months after obtaining the residence permit. Take with you to the appointment:

Working with the residence permit

It says on the back of the residence permit whether you are allowed to work. It says ‘Work allowed as a highly skilled migrant and as a self-employed person, other worked allowed with a work permit (in Dutch: Arbeid als kennismigrant en als zelfstandige toegestaan, andere arbeid toegestaan met TWV).’ This means that with this residence permit, you are allowed to work as a highly skilled migrant and as a self-employed person. For other work, your employer needs a work permit (in Dutch: tewerkstellingsvergunning; TWV).

Working while waiting for your residence permit

Did your employer receive a positive decision on the application but your residence permit is not ready yet? Depending on your situation, the following applies:

  • Are you waiting for your first residence permit as a highly skilled migrant?
    You may start working if this is stated in the positive decision (kennisgeving) received by your employer. You may work as a highly skilled migrant without a residence document for a maximum of 4 months. This period starts on the date stated in the positive decision letter. 
  • Are you awaiting your extended residence permit as a highly skilled migrant?
    With your expired residence document, you may continue to work as a highly skilled migrant.

In both cases, you have to schedule an appointment to have your biometrics taken or to pick up your residence permit. You should do this as soon as possible, but at least within 2 weeks after your employer has received the positive decision.

Doing other work

Have you worked in the Netherlands for 5 years? Then you are allowed to work as an employee in the Netherlands, besides your job as a highly skilled migrant. In that case, the employer for whom you are going to work as an employee will no longer need a work permit (TWV). Working without a TWV will be allowed as soon as you have obtained a work permit with the work status free to work (in Dutch: arbeid vrij toegestaan). You can apply for this work status as follows: 

Is your residence permit valid for at least 4 months? You can replace your residence document with a document with the work status free to work (in Dutch: arbeid vrij toegestaan).

Will your residence permit expire within 3 months? Then apply for extension of your residence permit. Indicate on the form that you want to have the employment status free to work (in Dutch:arbeid vrij toegestaan)on your residence document.

Legal obligations

As a recognised sponsor, your employer has an obligation to provide information, an administrative obligation and a duty of care. Only an obligation to provide information applies to you. 

Read more about the legal obligations of a recognised sponsor and the foreign national’s obligations

The IND checks whether you meet your obligations. If you do not, you may get an administrative fine

Validity of the residence permit

Your residence permit will be valid for as long as the period of your contract or job. The residence permit is valid for a maximum of 5 years. 

Unemployment and finding a new job

If you become unemployed, you have up to 3 months to find a new job as a highly skilled migrant. This job search period cannot be longer than the period that your residence permit is valid. If your residence permit expires sooner, you have less than the 3 months’ time. The period for finding a job starts on the day on which your contract has stopped. 

Have the 3 months passed without you notifying us of a new employer? Then, the IND can withdraw your residence permit. 

Other applications

Replacement of residence permit

Has the residence permit been damaged, lost or stolen? Then have the residence permit replaced. Visit the web page residence permit damaged or change details or residence permit lost or stolen.

Extend your residence permit 

Will your residence permit soon expire? Then, you can extend the residence permit.

Permanent residence permit

Do you have a residence permit for 5 years? Then, you can apply for a permanent residence permit.