Recognition as a sponsor to use the highly skilled migrant scheme
Being a recognized sponsor is a requirement for a company that wants to submit applications for visas (MVV) and residence permits for highly skilled migrants. The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) makes the decision on the application for recognition as a sponsor. This recognition not only signifies that the company is considered a reliable partner by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND), but also enables the recognized sponsor to utilize an expedited admission procedure, resulting in decisions being made within 2 to 3 weeks.
The application procedure for recognized sponsors can be divided into two groups: a relatively simple procedure for companies that have existed for more than 1.5 years and a difficult and lengthy procedure for companies that have existed for less than 1.5 years.
Enterprise has existed for more than 1.5 years
For companies that have existed for more than 1.5 years, no assessment by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) is required to become a recognized sponsor.
However, there are some important conditions:
- Registration with the Chamber of Commerce
- No arrears in the payment of social security contributions and payroll taxes
- No tax penalty or penalty for violation of the Foreign Nationals Employment Act, the Minimum Wage and Holiday Allowance Act, and the Aliens Act in the past four years prior to the application for recognition as a sponsor
- Reliable directors for whom the IND can request a statement of conduct
- No bankruptcy in the past three years
- Turnover and profitability of the enterprise
The IND makes a decision on these applications within 4 weeks. The statutory decision period is 3 months.
Enterprise has existed for less than 1.5 years
For companies that have existed for less than 1.5 years, a more extensive and time-consuming application procedure applies. It can take up to 6 months before a decision is made. The IND does not carry out this assessment itself, but the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) does. The IND always follows the advice of the RVO. The point system is used to assess the enterprise and determine whether it can be recognized. A total of 100 points can be scored, and 50 points are required for a positive advice.
Which documents need to be submitted?
This plan must contain at least information about the product or service being offered (maximum 15 points), a market analysis (maximum 25 points), and the organizational structure of the enterprise and the competencies of the directors/owners in the areas of entrepreneurship, management, and the product or service being sold (maximum 20 points).
This plan must be prepared or approved by an independent accountant or bookkeeper. It must contain a balance sheet (maximum 15 points), a revenue forecast that is plausible and consistent with the market analysis (maximum 10 points), and a liquidity forecast for the next three years (maximum 15 points).
The assets on the balance sheet must be at least €50,000, otherwise no points will be awarded. If the assets are between €50,000 and €250,000, a maximum of 10 points will be awarded. If the assets are higher than €250,000, a maximum of 15 points will be awarded. Whether the maximum number of points is awarded depends on the solvency. If this is more than 50%, the maximum number of points will be awarded.
A maximum of 10 points will be awarded for revenue of €500,000. No points will be awarded for revenue less than €125,000; 3 points will be awarded for revenue between €125,000 and €250,000, and 7 points will be awarded for revenue between €250,000 and €500,000.
Cash flow must be positive within three years.
Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) statement
The complex and lengthy application procedure for newly established enterprises can be significantly simplified if the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) has been involved in the establishment in the Netherlands. This only applies to foreign companies that want to establish a subsidiary in the Netherlands. In that case, the NFIA can issue a statement of familiarity.
With a statement of familiarity, the IND can decide on the application for recognition as a sponsor without consulting RVO and without applying the point system. The IND will make a decision within four to five weeks, which is approximately the same term as for enterprises that have existed for more than 1.5 years.
Enterprise formed by merger, acquisition, or change of legal form
Enterprises that have existed for less than 1.5 years do not need to submit a business plan and financial plan in certain cases when applying for recognition as a sponsor. In addition to the aforementioned possibility of an NFIA statement, there are four other situations in which these plans are not required.
- The enterprise is a subsidiary of an enterprise that has already been recognized as a sponsor by the IND.
- The enterprise was formed from a merger between two enterprises, both of which are already recognized as sponsors.
- The enterprise was acquired by an enterprise that is already recognized as a sponsor.
- The legal form of the enterprise recognized as a sponsor has changed, and the notarial deed shows that the nature of the business activities has not expanded and the control in the new enterprise or legal entity remains the same.
Revocation of recognized sponsorship due to low number of knowledge migrant applications
If no applications for knowledge migrants are submitted for three years and there are no longer any knowledge migrants employed, the status of recognized sponsor may be revoked by the IND. This applies to enterprises that were previously recognized as sponsors but no longer meet the conditions. The three-year period begins from the date of recognition.
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