I’m the R&D director at an American high-tech company. From Mountain View, I also manage the development group based in the Netherlands that was recently acquired by us. It took some time to sort out all the legal affairs, but in the end, the group has been housed in a separate legal entity and everything is on track. Which is a good thing, as we have big plans for expansion in the Netherlands.
In Silicon Valley, the costs of an R&D team have risen to absurd heights and employee loyalty is hard to find. The Netherlands is a much more suitable place to expand our R&D because the costs are lower here, the quality of the engineers is excellent and the labor market is much more stable. For certain specialisms, we may have to look abroad, but hiring staff within the EU is no problem. We’ve established ourselves in the Netherlands to find candidates in the European market, not from Asia or elsewhere outside Europe.
I recently received the resume of a candidate with a very interesting technical background. He works in the UK and obtained his PhD there. He’s exactly what we’re looking for for our team in the Netherlands. The recruiter did note that our company must be on some kind of reference list to be able to hire highly skilled migrants. If I understand correctly, this means facing another very bureaucratic procedure, and I really don’t want that. Can’t we just hire the man?
The headhunter answers:
To answer your question straight away: if the candidate doesn’t have an EU passport or a note on his residence papers allowing him to work freely, you will have to comply with formalities to legally employ him. Failure to comply can lead to heavy fines. On the other hand, ignoring this category of candidates is counterproductive in the current tight labor market.
In the Netherlands, when recruiting personnel from outside the EU, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) lets you choose between following a procedure for highly skilled migrants (HSM) and applying for a combined permit for residence and work (GVVA). The HSM route has been the most popular for years. The employer has to go through a series of steps to enter the IND’s register of recognized sponsors. When you’re on the list, you can have the entire immigration procedure arranged within a few weeks – provided you meet certain simple conditions. The great thing is that the highly skilled migrant’s partner and children also receive residence permits under this visa and can work legally in the Netherlands.
To become a recognized sponsor, companies must demonstrate that they’re reliable and financially sound. The IND assesses their solvency and continuity. After payment of the administrative costs, a decision will be made within 90 days, unless the application is incomplete or additional investigation is required.
The alternative when hiring someone from outside the EU (including Switzerland) who doesn’t have a European Blue Card is to apply for a work permit and a separate residence permit. For this, a number of conditions apply. One of the conditions is that you first search for candidates in the Netherlands and Europe. You need to demonstrate that you’ve done this thoroughly and professionally, via the internet, (international) agencies and advertisements, within a period of at least three months before submitting the application. Due to the length of the procedure, however, this route is only taken in special cases.