The Dutch Highly skilled migrant application
The Dutch highly skilled migrant application scheme is in general a pretty fast way to get residency. The average handling time of this application is about four weeks. That is, if the employer is already a recognized sponsor. If this is not the case, the employer will first need to obtain this recognized sponsor status, which can take anywhere from two months to six months for startups. And then the residence permit will need to be applied for.
Any way to work around this?
Yes, there is: A commonly used solution to this problem is to have the employee temporarily put in the payroll of a so-called payroll agency who already a recognized sponsor. Formally this payroll agency will act as the employer and bear responsibility for payment of the salary and taxes. The employee will be rented out so to speak to the actual employer.
A payroll agency is generally business with an administrative role and offers for instance self-employed freelancers a means to have their income classified as salary which offers them unemployment benefits in the case of unemployment. But for the purpose of the highly skilled migrant scheme they can serve as recognized sponsor employer.
Is this legal?
Absolutely! Even more so, the Immigration service fully aware of this structure. When filing the application, Immigration will be informed of contract between the payroll agency and the hiring company.
Does this process differ from the regular Dutch highly skilled migrant application requirements?
No, the normal requirements with regards to salary and market conformity of the salary for the highly skilled migrant scheme will apply.
How long can this go on for?
If the employer wants, it can go on for five years. But you can guess that the payroll agency will not do this for free. Often while the employee is already working here for the payroll agency the employer will apply itself for the recognized sponsorship. Once this achieved the sponsorship will be shifted from the payroll agency to the actual employer.
Also read our other blog, Highly Skilled Migrant Scheme Netherlands