The pilot "Key Employee Permit" starts now!

1 June 2021

With the pilot "Key Employee Permit", the Netherlands takes the lead in the EU.

What's the origin of the Key Employee Permit?

It is essential to hire highly skilled talent in the early startup phases of a company. However, based on the salary requirements, startups are not able to compete with the established Dutch tech companies.

The Key Employee Permit solves this problem and enables startups to attract and retain high potentials in their growing business. The salary requirements are reduced if the employee is offered, in return, a minimum particpation of 1% in the company. 

This new permit connects with the startup ecosystem in which employee participation is a common method for remuneration of key employees in the early stages. This employee participation boosts employees’ interest in and loyalty to the company they work for.


The Key Employee Permit enables Dutch innovative and scalable companties to attract new talent. The most important requirements are:

  • The startup is registered in The Netherlands
  • The startup employs a maximum of 15 full time employees
  • There’s a maximum of 5 international employees who can apply for this permit
  • The company is innovative and has a scalable business model
  • The company is requested to prove how the new employee contributes to the growth of the company
  • The company needs to offer the employee at least 1% employee participation.

More information about the application process can be found on the IND's website

Below, you can find a short video in which the Key Employee Permit is explained.