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Essential start-up personnel

In this eighth (and final) blog, we will discuss the pilot for essential start-up personnel.
Stefan Kleijer
22 February 2022
22 February 2022


As of June 1, 2021, a pilot scheme for hiring essential personnel from abroad has started. This pilot is intended to give the Dutch knowledge economy a boost and to offer starting entrepreneurs the opportunity to attract and retain experts so that the start-up functions optimally and generates a return. The pilot project will run until June 1, 2025, with an additional period of one year for the residence scheme. The conditions for obtaining the permit are as follows:

(1) Start-up and innovative company with scalable operations

Innovativeness is given if:
- The product or service is new for the Netherlands;
- The start-up uses new technology in production, distribution and/or marketing; or
- The start-up has a new way of working and organising.
Scalable operations mean that the start-up can grow with the prevailing demand for the product or service.

(2) Maximum of fifteen employees

The start-up may have a maximum of fifteen employees.

(3) Maximum of five foreign employees

The start-up may have a maximum of five foreign employees. In other words, a maximum of five employees may be granted this residence permit. If the start-up wants to hire a sixth employee from abroad, this application will always be rejected.

(4) Expert

The foreign employee should be an expert in the field that the start-up needs in the early stages.

(5) Employment agreement

The foreign employee must be employed on the basis of an employment agreement.

(6) Salary requirement

The foreign employee must earn at least € 2,497 gross per month (without holiday allowance).

(7) Shares

The foreign employee must be allocated a share of at least 1% (employee participation) and receive it within three years of joining the company without any conditions being attached. The share can be allocated in the following three forms:

  • Shares of the company;
  • Depositary receipts for shares in the company, or
  • Share options. These allow the employee to buy shares in the company. The price for these shares is agreed in advance.

Costs, decision period and validity

The residence permit must be applied for at the IND. The IND has three months to decide on the application and requests advice from the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RFO) on the assessment of conditions 1, 4 and 7. The RVO makes use of a fixed assessment framework for its advice. The IND charges € 320 for the application of the residence permit. The period of validity of the residence permit is equal to the duration of the employment agreement or appointment, with a maximum of one year. There are possibilities to extend the residence permit, again with a maximum of one year. The advice of the RVO is valid for three years with regard to condition 1.