Help measures and salary thresholds for highly skilled migrants

The impact of the coronavirus crisis has been felt far and wide in the business community and many companies are making use of the package of help measures put in place by the Dutch government. However, a recent concern was that international employees making use of the highly skilled migrant scheme may suffer if their employer had applied for and been awarded a wtv permit, resulting in them receiving a reduced salary. As the highly skilled migrant scheme has associated salary thresholds, the risk was that a reduction in income would impact the employees’ eligibility for the scheme, and likewise, employers would be at risk of financial penalties for misusing the scheme.

In a letter presented by Minister Koolmees and State Secretary Van Ark in April 2020 (in Dutch), the government announced a measure to alleviate this concern. Due to the special circumstances, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment will temporarily not enforce this rule and no sanctions will be issued.

It is expected that this issue only affects a small number of highly skilled migrants. As of 17 March 2020, the Regulation for Reduction in Working Hours (wtv) was superseded by the Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment (NOW). This measure helps businesses to continue to pay their employees with permanent and temporary contracts, thus their salary remains intact and their highly skilled migrant status is not affected.