Netherlands visa, work and residence permits
Companies and employers in the Netherlands are increasingly experiencing shortages in their local skilled labor. Especially highly qualified employees, in particular in the fields of IT & communication, engineering, oil & gas, sales, marketing, health care, fast moving consumer business, chemicals, financial and customer experience services are in great demand and employees are hence often attracted from abroad. In order to meet these business demands the Dutch authorities have implemented a set of immigration and work authorization policies that are intended to have these professionals and graduates on the ground in a matter of weeks using a fast-track immigration process.
Expat Management Group supports its (corporate) clients in confidently managing the mobility of highly qualified employees to the Netherlands thereby ensuring full compliance with Dutch laws and regulations taking into account the often urgent demands of the business.
Optimal Dutch immigration track
Determining the optimal Dutch immigration track procedure always depends on a number of factors, including the company’s credentials in the Netherlands, contract location, the applicant’s nationality, age and qualification, nature and duration of the activities and whether any family members will join. All these factors will have an impact on the actual start date of the employee and it is key to manage these expectations to the business right from the start.
The most commonly used corporate immigration categories in the Netherlands are the national Highly Skilled Migrant Scheme and the Intra Corporate Transferee application procedure as established under EU regulations. If all personal and corporate criteria are met, Dutch companies can sponsor the immigration applications and employees will receive a Dutch (entry and) residence permit with work authorization for up to 3 or 5 years. In addition, any family members accompanying the employee to the Netherlands under one of these categories, will in principle be free on the Dutch labour market to take up employment without the need of a Dutch work permit, which is considered a huge benefit when a highly qualified candidate opts to take up the position offered in the Netherlands.
EU or EEA Country
For those professionals who somehow already have a connection with another EU or EEA country different procedures are available.
Foreign employees who are in possession of a valid passport of another EU country, an EEA country or Switzerland are exempted from any work authorization requirements and can start immediately upon arrival (some exceptions can be applicable for ‘new’ EU countries who are still in a transition phase to gain full access to the EU labour market). Foreign employees with EU family members can potentially secure Dutch residence permits with work authorization based on these family relationships and are therefore not tied to a sponsoring company in the Netherlands.
For those foreign employees who already have valid work and residence in another EU or EEA country and need to be temporarily seconded to the Netherlands, simplified notification procedures may potentially be an option.
Professionals who do not have a corporate or family sponsor in the Netherlands, can potentially apply for a Dutch work and residence permit as a contractor, entrepreneur or self-employed person. These application options are especially attractive to US or Japanese nationals, while being more difficult for other non-EU nationals.
Those who do not take up employment or residence in the Netherlands may conduct business meetings for a limited period in the Netherlands. Depending on the nationality, these business travelers can enter the Netherlands on the basis of a valid passport or Schengen (type C) visa. These visits should be limited in time and the allowed activities usually do not include hands-on work (under condition some exceptions are applicable for installing equipment or software). A potential and genuine risk for these business travelers is that they overstay their allowable days in the whole of the Schengen Area (incl. the Netherlands). Travel and duration of stay in the Schengen Area for these nationals, on the basis of the valid passport (and entry visa), is limited to a maximum of 90 days cumulatively within any 180 days period. The actual maximum duration of stay will need to be assessed upon each proposed entry date into the Schengen Area. In the event Customs office have identified an overstay of allowable days, the business traveler may potentially receive an entry ban into the whole Schengen Area of 2 to 5 years.