The salary criterion for highly skilled migrants is contained in the Foreign Nationals Employment Act Implementation Decree (Besluit uitvoering Wet arbeid vreemdelingen). This also stipulates that salaries are to be adjusted annually by ministerial regulation with effect from January 1 on the basis of recent index figures for negotiated wages, as published by Statistics Netherlands.

The following gross monthly salaries apply as of January 1, 2016: 

  • Highly skilled migrant 30 years and older            EUR 4,240  excluding vacation allowance
  • Highly skilled migrant younger than 30 years      EUR 3,108  excluding vacation allowance
  • Dutch graduates qualifying for orientation year   EUR 2,228  excluding vacation allowance

The salary criterion is assessed solely on the salary received in cash, i.e. the fixed contractual gross salary in cash, excluding the vacation allowance to be paid by the employer. Non-cash salary payments and uncertain salary components such as overtime, tips, and benefit payments are excluded. However, expense allowances may be included provided they are paid monthly into a bank account held by the highly skilled migrant.

As we reported previously, until March 1, 2015, the employer could include fixed allowances such as 13th month payment or fixed year-end bonus in the gross salary, even if these were paid annually. This is no longer permitted and these fixed allowances can now only be included in the gross salary if they are paid to the highly skilled migrant in monthly arrears.

The salary must also be paid at least monthly into a bank account held by the employee. The pay slips must be made available for inspection upon first request.

Applications that are filed before January 1, 2016 are subject to the salary criterion for 2015. The old criterion also applies in situations where the Entry and Residence (Toegang en Verblijf; TEV) application is filed before January 1, 2016, but the highly skilled migrant only arrives in the Netherlands in 2016.

In addition to the highly skilled migrants program, the salary criterion also applies to the following types of applications for a work permit:

  1. Short stay by highly skilled migrants
    This scheme is limited to group employees in a key or specialist position who are employed by a recognized sponsor and work for a maximum of 90 days in the Netherlands within a period of six months.
  2. Application in the context of an intra-group transfer
    There are special categories for key positions, knowledge transfer and trainees. The salary criterion for highly skilled migrants 30 years of age and older applies to the first two categories. For trainees, the lower criterion for migrants younger than 30 years of age applies.
  3. Highly skilled migrants resident in another EU Member State but working in the Netherlands
    This scheme is particularly attractive for employers in the border region, who are thus able to employ highly skilled migrants although they do not live in the Netherlands.


Besides the annual indexation of the salary criterion, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) has announced that the legal fees will also be increased on January 1, 2016: 

  • Highly Skilled Migrant, first application:                    EUR 881 (previously EUR 870)
  • Highly Skilled Migrant, renewal application              EUR 389 (previously EUR 384)
  • Family member, first or renewal application             EUR 233 (previously EUR 230)

If you would like more information on this topic, please contact your own Meijburg tax advisor or Heleen Snieders.

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