Partners of highly skilled migrants: An untapped resource?

The partners of Highly Skilled Migrants (HSM) are often overlooked when it comes to job opportunities. This happens because the focus of companies are on the successful recruitment, immigration and relocation of the HSM. Somewhat less attention is given to the HSM’s partner and their potential skill set. We think that this is a missed opportunity as there are also benefits in hiring the partner of an HSM.

Let’s explore some benefits:

1. No work restrictions for partners of highly skilled migrants

A Dependant Residence Permit (DRP) does not have any work restrictions. At the back of the residence card, it says ‘free to work, work permit not required’ (in Dutch: ‘arbeid vrij toegestaan. TWV niet vereist). This means that the partner is able to work with no salary criteria requirements.*

2. Validity linked to HSM residence permit

The validity of the DRP will be valid as long as the HSM residence permit is valid for, which could be up to 5 years. It is recommended to always check the validity of the HSM residence permit!

If your company is a recognized sponsor for the Dutch immigration authorities IND you might offer a job contract for a definite period. After this period you might change the purpose of the immigration permit to an independent status. This has advantages in case the relation with the HSM main applicant should end or the HSM loses his/her job in the Netherlands. However, if you change the status to independant the regular salary requirements do apply.

3. Highly skilled partners

Partners of highly skilled migrants are in many cases highly skilled and educated as well. They may have advanced degrees, education or experiences that make their skill set highly sought after and useful for companies.

4. Increased retention of your employee

For many highly skilled migrants and their partners, the decision to relocate to the Netherlands is not one made lightly. The pressure of not finding a job for their partners can often cause families to return to their home countries and for companies to lose their recruited HSM candidates. Hiring partners may lead to increased retention of your employee.

5. A pipeline for future talent

Once companies consider hiring from the pool of HSM partners, it may lead to further access to a network of top talent, an increase in diversity and perspective and further company growth.

* This is also applicable to the partners of applicants who are the holder of a European Blue Card, an intra-corporate transfer (ICT) and a residence permit for ‘work as a self-employed person’ (in Dutch: arbeid als zelfstandige). It however does not apply to a residence permit for studies.


Recruiting partners of highly skilled migrants can be a valuable strategy for companies looking to attract and retain top talent. By tapping into this somewhat untapped resource, companies can increase their talent pool, diversity, and also demonstrate their support to their employees and their families leading to a higher HSM retention rate. Furthermore, unlike their HSM counter-parts, partners of HSM are not subject to the same salary restrictions, but may be highly skilled and experienced. This makes the partners of HSM a valuable resource that we encourage companies to consider when recruiting for HSM applicants.


Settle Service can help make the immigration procedure stress free for all expats and their family members coming to the Netherlands. If you would like more information or our assistance, please contact us at

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