The Netherlands abolish work permits for highly skilled expats

AMSTERDAM, September 20, 2004
NRI Press

The Netherlands is set to abolish work permits for potential expats earning more than EUR 45,000 a year.

The change, which is due to come into force on 1 October, means that these expats will instead be issued with a residence permit lasting five years.

The move is part of the Dutch government's plan to ease the entry process for skilled and highly educated expats to stimulate the so-called "knowledge economy". The changes are based on recommendations from a report by the Innovation Platform "Borderless Mobility Knowledge Migrants".

Described by Economic Affairs Minister Laurens Jan Brinkhorst as a "breakthrough" when proposed in April, the changes mean that one point of contact, one procedure and one permit will be introduced for foreign

workers and knowledge migrants.

Expats earning more than EUR 45,000 gross will therefore no longer need a work permit and will be issued with a residence permit for five years.

The income criterion will not apply to foreigners entering into employment as a doctoral student at an educational or research institute or to postgraduates and university teachers under 30 years of age. Knowledge migrants under 30 years of age must earn at least EUR 32,600.

A spokesman from the Justice Ministry confirmed to Expatica on Monday that the new proposal is expected to come into force from 1 October. He said the issue will be discussed in Cabinet on Friday.

Once finalised in Cabinet, the issue will then be submitted to the Parliament. But due to the fact that it is not a legislative proposal, the policy will quickly pass through Parliament for implementation on 1 October.

It means that knowledge migrants or highly skilled expats currently obliged to obtain a work permit will be excluded from the Foreign Workers Employment Act and will only need to obtain a residence permit.

The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) will be responsible for the issuing of a residence permit.

The permit will be granted for five years if the expat has a work contract for an indefinite period. In case of a contract for a definite period, the permit could be granted for the duration of the contract, with a maximum of five years.

A Justice Ministry letter to Parliament on 25 May said the temporary entry visa (MVV) and residence permit will together cost EUR 424, a fee which covers the IND's processing costs.

Knowledge expats will not need to renew the permit, unless they wish to settle permanently in the Netherlands. Family members will need to apply for normal permits.

Furthermore, corporations and institutions will be able to reach an agreement with the IND qualifying skilled expats for an accelerated procedure for the MVV.

The government promises to fully deal with these applications — which most non-European Union nationals must obtain before entering the country — in the shortest possible period of time, but two weeks at the maximum.

And for foreign workers (who are not classified as knowledge migrants), the government intends to establish a joint point of contact.

The Immigration and Naturalisation Service IND and the Centre for Work and Income CWI will co-operate when processing work permit applications for foreign workers.

It means employers and expats will only come into contact with one agency. Despite this, the government said the change would not accelerate processing times and will only make the process simpler for companies and foreigners.

Students will not be regarded as knowledge migrants, but will still be granted an MVV and residence permit at a cost of EUR 424. This will be subject to annual renewal, at a reduced rate of EUR 50. Educational institutes will be able use the accelerated MVV procedure.