The Dutch labour migration system has undergone substantive changes in recent years.
To induce a transition to more high-skilled migration, a programme based on salary
thresholds has grown in volume while a programme based on work permits after a labour
market test has shrunk. New programmes target international graduates either of Dutch
educational institutions or of selected institutions abroad. Changes to immigration
procedures have shifted responsibility to migrants' employers and have greatly reduced
processing times. This review first examines the composition of labour migration to
the Netherlands, in the context of present and expected demand in the Dutch labour
market. Following a discussion of various programmes and procedures, the review assesses
how labour migration contributes to the strategic development of sectors and to employment
in regions. It then explores the determinants for the retention of high-skilled migrants
and for the integration of international graduates into the Dutch labour market.
Knowledge migrants aged 30 or above are admitted if the salary they are offered by a Dutch employer exceeds 120% of the average gross income. While this requirement is simple and transparent, it is very restrictive for some groups of applicants.
Retention rates of skilled migrants can be further improved if spouses had better opportunities in the Dutch labour market, the OECD review shows. International students with early labour market experience, acquired through internships and ideally related to the field of study, are more likely to stay in the Netherlands after graduation.