Personal & Reliable

Relocation of a highly skilled employee

In this tight labor market, a solution can be found by searching for suitable employees outside the Dutch borders. Hiring an expat brings many benefits, such as increasing team spirit, creating a larger network, expanding the customer portfolio, boosting sales through customer mirroring, and increasing diversity in the team. Once the right highly educated employee has been found and hired, the relocation process will begin.


What is relocation?

Relocation, also known as “transferring,” is the process of bringing a highly educated migrant to the Netherlands. Relocation also includes immersing in a new culture and foreign language, or leaving everything behind for something new.

If the highly skilled migrant has a European nationality, relocation is quite straightforward, as he/she is free to live and work in the Netherlands. No special work and residency permit needs to be obtained from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) for this employee. However, this is not the case when the highly skilled migrant has a non-European nationality. Both the employer and the employee must meet multiple requirements to obtain an approved permit to live and work in the Netherlands, making the relocation process longer.

For example, the employer must be a recognized sponsor. Being a recognized sponsor means that the organization has been added to the list of reliable partners of the IND to be able to hire (faster) knowledge migrants. The relocation process, therefore, starts with the submission of the IND application. If the expat has a partner and/or children, they often come with them to the new country, meaning the entire family is going on the relocation adventure.


What to look out for in a smooth relocation process

Each relocation is unique, so a standard checklist is not enough to ensure the entire relocation process goes smoothly. It is a deliberate process, where every step must be taken at the right time. It is important to have an experienced professional execute this complex immigration procedure, especially with regard to the laws and regulations. If a step is skipped or an incorrect sequence is followed, the relocation may be delayed or even stalled, which may result in high costs and disappointment that cannot be rectified.

Once the work and residence permit has been issued for the highly skilled migrant, the relocation process can be further pursued. There are a few mandatory things that must be arranged once the international talent has arrived in the Netherlands. For example, registering with the municipality for a citizen service number (BSN), opening a Dutch bank account, activating a Dutch health insurance policy, registering with a general practitioner, undergoing a tuberculosis test (only mandatory for certain nationalities), submitting the 30% ruling, and so on.

It is also important to approach the right organizations at the right time for these relocation steps, as this will lead to a smoother relocation of the expat.

In addition to the mandatory tasks, our advice is to inform the highly educated migrant about important peripheral matters such as local regulations, levies/taxes, tax returns, housing, public transportation, education, and so on. All of this contributes to forming a realistic picture of what it is like to live in the Netherlands.

Preparation is part of the relocation process

Relocating is not a decision made in one day. When embarking on the adventure of relocation, a new life begins in another country, with memories and cultural habits from the previous home, but without the support of the community/friends/family or the routine that the expat is used to. In other words: do not underestimate the transfer to another country.

To ensure a carefree relocation for the highly skilled migrant with a possible partner and/or children, preparation is half the work. Think of delving into the customs and habits of the Netherlands, the population, what the local environment looks like, what are the differences/similarities between the new country and the current country, what are the costs of living, and so on.

Would you like more information on what a knowledge migrant is and what the conditions are for starting this employee? We kindly refer you to our Dutch page

Wat is een kennismigrant

Self-management or outsource

As previously mentioned, preparation is important for a smooth start, but for a “soft landing” in the Netherlands, a proper execution of the relocation process is crucial. Relocation is often a complex process, with a focus on overview and timely actions taken with the right parties. Expertise provides peace of mind and saves headaches.

Do you want to manage the relocation process independently as an organization? Our advice is to do this only if the expertise is fully available in-house. Don’t fall into the same trap as others.

The desired outcome is a happy and satisfied expat through a smooth move. Therefore, choose certainty and engage a specialized and reliable partner/relocator. Every employer and every situation of a highly skilled migrant is different, which is why engaging expertise ultimately saves time and money. We, Global Relocation Compass, can be your expert partner in relocation.

Aftercare needed

Aftercare is important if you want to guarantee long-term success of the relocation process. Our advice is to prioritize aftercare during the onboarding of the highly skilled immigrant, as it ensures the expat remains connected to the organization for a longer period.

The most common “mistake” is that employers only focus on attracting expats and do not pay attention to aftercare. However, the one-time investment costs of the relocation process ideally should be spread over a longer period, making the benefits much higher than the costs.

Some examples that contribute to keeping international talents longer in employment are:

  • Feeling welcome
  • Recognition of cultural differences
  • Learning to adapt
  • Discussing patterns and habits
  • Genuine interest – How are you doing?
  • Learning Dutch
  • Showing understanding
  • Relocation and immigration process

    Global Relocation Compass has years of experience with various situations in the immigration and relocation processes. We provide expert advice and can take care of everything for a worry-free journey.

    This includes arranging documents and applications, managing the expectations of the knowledge migrant, anticipating changing and impactful situations (such as with COVID-19), and all other critical points for a successful relocation.

    Our commitment, expertise, and short communication lines ensure a successful journey! Do you want to work with a proactive relocation agency? Contact us at or +31 6 823 80 801.

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