Discovering payroll companies: A gateway for Highly Skilled Migrants

An article by Ravecruitment

According to the IND’s statistics in 2022, the Netherlands has welcomed over 30,000 highly skilled migrants in 2022, mostly known as 'expats,' to address labor shortages in specific fields. What stands out is that the number of expats has nearly doubled compared to previous year. Given the widespread skilled labor shortage across European countries, one may wonder what makes the Netherlands such an attractive destination for expats and their families.

The answer is that the Netherlands boasts a highly organized Kennismigrant visa program (kennis means 'knowledge' in Dutch), which offers a smooth transition for highly skilled non-EU citizens to work for Dutch companies. In addition, the highly skilled migrants can benefit from 30% tax ruling and unrestricted labor market access for their partners, not to mention the high-quality education available for their children.

Among these highly educated individuals, some are recruited internationally, while others begin working in the Netherlands after completing their studies, using the orientation year (zoekjaar) visa. The orientation year visa is granted to students who finish their Dutch university and those who received a master's or Ph.D. degree accredited foreign educational programs, provided they rank among the world's top 200.

As a graduate of Lund University in Sweden with a master's degree, I chose to relocate to the Netherlands using my orientation year visa and landed in my current position as a Global Mobility Consultant. Now, I assist fellow highly skilled migrants by facilitating their employment with companies that are not recognized sponsors or don’t have an official entity in the Netherlands.

To give a few more useful details about the visa scheme, only companies with the recognized sponsorship status from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) can hire non-EU citizens and apply for their work and residence permits. The IND updates its list of these recognized sponsor companies every month, which are authorized to hire individuals from non-EU countries. Despite the booming economy and skilled labor shortage in the country, only the 4 percent of the companies registered at the Chamber of Commerce (KvK) have the recognized sponsorship status and are eligible to recruit from abroad. The reason for this is that due to the legal responsibilities, additional administrative burden and complex and continuously changing legislation, most companies don’t consider or are not eligible to become a recognized sponsor.

But if you are a non-EU and have received a job offer from a company that is not included in this list, there is still a promising alternative available through payroll companies as they can successfully handle employee onboarding, provide employment contracts in accordance with Dutch labor laws, act as recognized sponsors, and obtain the necessary work and residence permits.

As someone who's navigated the challenges of finding a visa sponsorship as a non-EU national and now works as a Global Mobility Consultant, I can say that this solution benefits all parties involved. It's a win-win for companies and employees, and it helps the Netherlands attract the highly skilled migrants it needs from around the world. So, feel free to explore the other 96 percent of Dutch companies and don't hesitate to click that 'send application' button, knowing that the payroll companies, like the one I work, have your back!

Zeynep Kizildag works as a Global Mobility Consultant at Ravecruitment.

As official partner of the International Welcome Centre Utrecht Region, Ravecruitment offers a full-service solution for highly skilled migrants from around the world enabling them to work for companies in the Netherlands. This includes payrolling, immigration, relocation, hiring, staffing and salary administration. The process is efficient, cost-effective and adheres to the highest quality standards.


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