expat immigration procedures in the Netherlands

7 Differences between the most popular expat immigration procedures in the Netherlands

The Dutch Highly Skilled Migrant (HSM) and the Intra-Corporate Transfer (ICT) permits are the most popular expat immigration procedures. They enable non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals to work in the Netherlands. While their purpose is similar, they are also very different. In this article, I will discuss the seven key differences between those two permits.

1. Application

The HSM permit is applicable for highly skilled individuals with a job offer from a Dutch employer. The ICT permit, on the other hand, is for transferees within multinational companies. Employees are transferred from a company’s non EU branch to the Dutch entity. It is important to know that the HSM and ICT permits are applicable in different situations. They are not interchangeable, meaning that one cannot choose between those two permits.

2. Eligibility requirements

In order to be eligible for the HSM permit, they employee’s salary should meet a yearly changing threshold. Moreover, the employee must have a highly skilled job offer in the Netherlands. It has no further requirements regarding the title, education level or work experience of the individiual.

In sharp contrast, the ICT permit is available only to individuals with certain title and education background. To be specific, only managers or specialists who have a bachelor’s degree or five years of relevant work experience and trainees that hold a master’s degree can apply for this permit. In addition, the ICT permit requires the employees to have worked for the sending company for at least three months before being transferred to a related entity in the Netherlands.

3. Salary requirements for expat immigration procedures in the Netherlands

The salary thresholds for the HSM permit are straightforward. They are indexed annually and published on the website of the IND. The ICT permit does not mention exact numbers, but requires the remuneration to be on market terms. A salary is considered to be on market terms if it meets the salary thresholds applicable for the HSM permit.

4. Duration of expat immigration procedures in the Netherlands

The HSM permit can be issued for a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of five years. In addition to that, the HSM permit is endlessly renewable.

The ICT permit, on the other hand, is issued for a period of more than 90 days at a minimum while the maximum duration of the permit depends on the position of the permit holder. For managers and specialists it is issued for a maximum of three years. For trainees for the maximum of one year. The ICT permit is not renewable. Therefore, upon expiry of their ICT permit, the employees will have to leave the Netherlands or apply for a different permit if they want to stay in the country. If they leave the Netherlands, they can apply for the ICT permit again after six months.

5. Job mobility

The HSM permit allows its holders to change employers without needing to apply for a new permit. A notification is sufficient.

ICT permit holders may only work for the specific company that sponsored their permit. Nevertheless, unlike the HSM permit, the ICT permit provides for EU mobility rights. This means that its holders are free to work for the branch or client of the same company in another EU country with the same permit.

6. Termination of employment

The HSM permit grants a search period of three months to find another job if employment is ended. In contrast, the ICT permit holders are expected to leave the Netherlands immediately when their secondment ends since the permit does not provide for a search period.

7. Long term implications

The HSM permit enables its holders to obtain the EU long-term residence permit after a legal stay of five years in the Netherlands. However, this option is not available for the ICT permit holders. As a side note, it is worthwhile to mention that the years spent as an ICT permit holder are not completely lost as they may count towards the five years threshold required for the Dutch national residence permit. Nevertheless, since the ICT permit is issued only for one or three years, the employee should obtain another permit in order to reach the threshold of five years of legal residence in order to be eligible for the Dutch national residence permit.

Expat immigration procedures in the Netherlands

To sum up, while both the HSM and ICT permits enable individuals from non-EU/EEA/Swiss countries to work in the Netherlands, they have a different set of requirements and involve a different procedure. If you would like to know more about each permit, please feel free to contact us at info.nl@anywr-group.com.

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