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The rock-hard salary threshold that may not be tampered with.

The highly skilled migrant is often a highly educated person or a person with sufficient work experience to work in a higher position, but what ultimately characterises this residence status is that the job comes with such requirements that the salary according to market standards at least meets the so-called highly skilled migrant wage. For this year, 2021, a person of 30 years or older must earn at least EUR 4.752 gross per month. For the younger highly skilled migrant, under 30 years of age, the requirement is EUR 3,484 gross per month and for those who fall under the highly skilled migrant scheme (recent graduates of qualifying study programmes) a reduced criterion of EUR 2,497 gross per month applies. All the above-mentioned amounts are still exclusive of the holiday allowance of 8% that is compulsory in the Netherlands. The amounts are indexed each year.

Until 2014, an annual standard applied, but this could easily be fiddled with. If the Inspectorate SZW found the wages to be too low, it could be claimed that the employee would be supplemented with the remaining amount later in the year. In short, messing around with salaries and hassle with enforcement.

Nowadays, wages must be paid monthly. The net equivalent of the gross salary must be deposited in a bank account suitable for giro payments. We are talking about the whole amount. For part-timers, there is no adjusted standard, so it does not matter how many hours you work, as long as you receive the salary.

Recently it turned out again that things are very tricky. In a case that came before the district court of Oost-Brabant, the court ruled, in agreement with the earlier decision of the Inspectorate SZW, that the wage requirements had not been met (ECLI:NL:RBOBR:2021:4568). The salary was short of EUR 42,83 gross per month over a period of six months. The net difference was (only) around EUR 140 over the whole period. The employer also had an explanation for the difference. The employee would buy extra holidays for this amount.

The court did not follow the employer’s argument. The wage demand is rock solid. The fine was upheld.

Are there no circumstances under which the wage may fall below the thresholds? Yes, but then you really have to think about a legal right to leave that the employer may not refuse, such as parental leave on the basis of the Work and Care Act. In such cases, which are in any case temporary, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service will maintain the permit, but the employer must report this within 4 weeks. This in view of the employer’s obligation to provide information.

For more information, contact Reinier Wolters, r.wolters@valegis.com.