Organisations can appoint themselves as sponsor for a foreign national in the Netherlands by registering as such with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). A distinction is made between the 'regular' sponsor and the recognised sponsor.
If an organisation wishes to be designated as a recognised sponsor, it will have to submit an application to the IND. An organisation can submit an application for the status of recognised sponsor for 4 different purposes of stay:
Arbeid Regulier en Kennismigranten;
Au Pair en Uitwisseling;
Onderzoeker in het kader van Richtlijn (EU) 2016/801.
This blog is limited to the recognised sponsor for the purpose of stay of ‘Arbeid Regulier en Kennismigranten’.
How do you become a recognised sponsor?
In order to obtain the status of recognised sponsor, an organisation must submit an application to the IND. The application costs – legal charges – for this application amount to € 4.212,00 in 2022. If your organisation consists of a maximum of 50 persons, the legal charges will amount to € 2.105,00 per application.
In addition to paying the fees, your organisation will also have to meet a number of other conditions in order to obtain the status of recognised sponsor. The general conditions that the organisation has to meet are:
The organisation is registered in the Trade Register of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce;
The continuity and solvency of the organisation are sufficiently guaranteed;
The organisation is not bankrupt and there is no question of suspension of payment;
The organisation, its directors and other (legal) persons involved with the organisation are reliable;
The organisation meets a code of conduct applicable to that company;
The organisation is able to submit a declaration of payment behaviour issued by the Dutch Tax Authorities.
In case the organisation does not yet exist for over one and a half year, or does not perform any business activities for over one and a half year, then in most cases a business plan is to be submitted. This business plan will be assessed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (‘Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland’).
What advantages does the recognised sponsor have?
Not every organisation aspires to become a recognised sponsor. After all, it involves high costs and recognition as sponsor is not important for the vast majority of purposes of stay. In practice, we therefore see that, in general, only organisations that employ highly skilled migrants submit an application for recognition as sponsor. After all, recognition is compulsory for this purpose of stay - with the exception of highly skilled migrants with Turkish nationality.
When an organisation is recognised by the IND as a sponsor, this organisation is considered a reliable partner of the IND. This status entails several advantages:
A target decision period of 2 weeks is used to decide on an application; this is considerably faster than the statutory period of 90 days;
The recognised sponsor has access to the IND's online Business Portal, in which all applications can be submitted and progress monitored;
Fewer documents need to be submitted when submitting the application - a personal declaration is generally sufficient;
The recognised sponsor often has a permanent point of contact within the IND.
These advantages do not only apply to the application of highly skilled migrants, but also to other purposes of stay. A target period of 2 weeks is also applied for family members travelling with the employee. If the employee has family members who travel later, the statutory period of 90 days does apply.
Points of attention for the recognised sponsor
In addition to the advantages of the status of recognised sponsor, there are also a number of issues to be taken into account. The most well-known are the so-called MoMi obligations:
Obligation to keep records;
The duty to provide information; and
Duty of care.
In short, this means that the recognised sponsor must keep all relevant documents of the migrant in the personnel file, must inform the IND of any changes and must ensure careful recruitment and selection of the foreign national. For an extensive explanation of the MoMi obligations, we refer you to another blog.
Because the recognised sponsor is considered a reliable partner of the IND, a self-declaration is often sufficient to receive a residence permit for the intended employee. This also means that the IND does not carry out a thorough check upfront to see whether the foreign national actually fulfils all the conditions for the relevant purpose of stay. After all, this responsibility has been assigned to the recognised sponsor as the IND's reliable partner. The IND carries out a check afterwards at random on all duties, whether or not in cooperation with the Dutch Labour Inspectorate. We therefore advise to always submit a complete application and not to limit yourself to a self-declaration. If your organisation would like more advice on this, you can always contact us to discuss.
Another point of attention is that the IND considers a recognised sponsor as a separate organisation. This means that if an organisation consists of several business units – entities – each entity where (for example) a highly skilled migrant works, must be recognised as a sponsor. The highly skilled migrant must also be registered with the correct entity with the IND. We will explain this in more detail in our next blogs on the purpose of stay 'Highly Skilled Migrant’.