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What are Knowledge Migrants in The Netherlands?


Real top talents are not only found within the borders of the Netherlands. Specialist knowledge or skills are increasingly acquired from abroad. Knowledge migrants, for example. How does that work exactly? How do you arrange that, and what should you pay attention to?

A knowledge migrant is someone from outside the EU who comes to the Netherlands to work based on their specialist knowledge. The Netherlands has a special arrangement for knowledge migrants. It makes it easier for companies to hire highly skilled people from outside the EU. This is subject to certain conditions, however.

It’s increasingly popular in the Netherlands to bring bright minds from Asia and North America here, for example, to work as an IT specialist or financial expert. Nearly half of the knowledge migrants in the Netherlands are from Asia, and more than one-tenth is from North America. 75% of the knowledge workers are male and highly skilled migrants are relatively young. (Source: There are many benefits for the knowledge migrant too in the Netherlands. Among other things, they may qualify for a tax benefit up to a maximum €7,750. Often, knowledge migrants also qualify for the attractive 30% arrangement. There are some conditions for hiring a knowledge migrant though.


First, the knowledge migrant needs to have a residence permit. To qualify for this, you must comply with the general conditions applicable to all migrants plus some extra conditions.

The most important condition is that the employer is recognised by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). You can apply online for that (fees apply).

Another condition is that the knowledge migrant is paid a market-rate salary. What qualifies as market-rate, is redetermined every year. In 2017, this is:

  • €4,324 per month for knowledge migrants aged 30 or older.
  • €3,170 per month for knowledge migrants younger than 30.
  • €2,272 gross per month for knowledge migrants younger than 30 who finished their studies in the Netherlands.

Note: These amounts are gross amounts excluding 8% holiday allowance.


As an employer, you must apply for the residence permit to the IND. Fees apply to this as well, and it can take a long time. After receipt of the application, the IND has 90 days to decide. After the decision, it can take up to 2 weeks before the permit is ready. TCP Solutions checks whether someone qualifies for the knowledge migrant visa and, as a recognised referent, we can apply for it at the IND through an accelerated procedure.

If all of that has been completed, the employer is done, but the knowledge migrant isn’t. He or she must register with the municipality, take out health insurance and possibly undergo a TB test.

30% arrangement

To address the extra costs knowledge migrants incur to work in the Netherlands, the 30% arrangement was created. The employer can provide a free (untaxed) compensation for the extraterritorial costs that are incurred. Instead of compensating the actual extraterritorial costs, the employer can also compensate these costs by paying 30% of the salary, including the compensation, tax-free. This arrangement is known as the 30% arrangement. It’s not required to prove these costs.

Specially for graduates

The Netherlands considers it important that highly skilled persons are allowed the time to find a job as knowledge migrant after their studies or to start their own company in the Netherlands.

Thanks to this arrangement, highly skilled persons can apply for a residence permit in the Netherlands up to 3 years after receiving their diploma or completing their scientific research. The residence permit for the so-called “search year for highly skilled persons” contains the labour market annotation “work freely permitted, work permit not required”. This means that the highly skilled person is free to work in the Netherlands during the search year.

This is ideal for employers looking for new international talent. These fresh graduates already know the Netherlands a little through their studies, and with this arrangement, they’re easy to hire.

TCP Solutions makes it easy

As a specialist in flexible labour, TCP Solutions makes it very easy for you to have highly skilled personnel from all countries work for you. TCP has been a recognised referent of the IND for years and has lots of experience with applications for knowledge migrants.

The knowledge migrant you’re interested in will be employed by us and will immediately start working for you based on an employee loan agreement. We take care of the salary and all administration based on a clear employment contract. We also take care of the visa application. This way, you can get started with top talent from abroad without any worries. We take care of the rest.

Wish to learn more?

Do you wish to learn more? Please contact our team via the form below or call us on +44 (0) 208 5 800 800 or contact any of our local teams via Contacts.

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