"Gerben Dijkman", a migration and asylum law practitioner, and our business partner is sharing what you need to know about Dutch immigration rules.


Congratulations, you obtained residence rights in The Netherlands! Our country is listed high in almost all indexes on best countries to live. We hope you will enjoy your live here.


But even our great country has it's flaws. The Dutch are known for their tolerance for people with other thoughts, habits or believes, but some things will not be tolerated from anybody. The Dutch can be quite strict with agreements and rules. For example, showing up to late for an appointment (even if it is only one minute) will raise eyebrows and be considered rude. Scheduling a meeting with the Dutch at 10 o'clock usually means they will be present 5 and sometimes even 10 minutes early. We hope you can forgive us this habit.


This simple example also reveals a part of Dutch society you should know and act to accordingly. In The Netherlands rules are usually applied also quite strict. Especially the Dutch migration service (Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst or in short: IND) is known for the phrase 'rules are rules'. They mean they do not easily make an exception to a rule. But this phrase also has a positive side. If you abide the rules, you have noting to fear. So it is important for you to know your rights and obligations as owner of a residence permit as skilled migrant and abide them.


As skilled migrant you most likely do not have a direct connection with the migration service. The arrangement for skilled migrant works through the company that officially has you under contract. They need to have the status of recognized sponsor at the IND. This means they applied for that position and showed the IND they are trustworthy to work with and fulfill the financial conditions to have skilled migrants work for them. They can arrange the residence permits quite easily and the migration service trusts them to check all condition for the permit thoroughly. This means the permit is granted quite fast after the application, usually within 2 weeks.


One of their obligations is that they inform their employee on his rights and obligations as skilled migrant in The Netherlands. Most of them give the employee the brochure of the migration service about coming to work in The Netherlands Since this is a quite long brochure, here are the most important things you need to know.




Both the employer and you have an information obligation towards the IND. This means you need to report changes relevant for your permit. The relevant changes are changes in position, employer, termination of contract and return to your country. Besides these the most important additional information obligation is to report to the IND if the applicable salary criterium was not met. The requirement for salary contains three parts. It must be payed, (1) equal or above the applicable criterium, (2) each month, (3) through banktransfer. Even if there is only a small mistake in one of these it means the requirement is not met that month, end you were not allowed to work. For example, if the salary was payed below the criterium because of a system-error, but the next month the correction was payed in addition to the normal salary the criterium was not met in the first mentioned month. This should be reported to the IND.


All of the aforemented must be reported to the IND within 4 weeks after it became applicable. In case of any doubt always contact your employer to discuss the obligation.




Besides this information obligation you also must be aware of the requirements of your residence permit. For skilled migrants it means you need to know you have to live in The Netherlands and work as skilled migrant. In practice it means you need to work and continue to do so together with earning a salary equal or above your applicable criterium. Your employer can inform you on the exact applicable salary criterium in your situation. Be aware that when your residence permit changes, needs to be extended of you switch employers the applicable salary criterium might change. We highly recommend to discuss with the employer if the change has any consequence for the applicable criterium in your situation this table on the IND-website might also help:


These rules are quite easy to follow and your residence rights will remain safe if you follow these rules. Do not hesitate to ask your employer in case of any doubt on your rights and obligations.


We wish you all the best with your years in The Netherlands.



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