Long-term transfers

Categories

What are the main work and business permit categories used by companies to transfer skilled staff?

Intra-company transfer (ICT) programme

When a non-European Economic Area (EEA) national who is a manager, specialist or trainee, who has his or her main residence outside the EU and an employment contract with a company based outside the EU for at least three months, is temporarily transferred to an entity based in the Netherlands, the ICT programme needs to be used. Under the ICT programme, residence permits are granted allowing migrants to reside and work in the Netherlands. No separate work permit is required. It will not be permitted to apply for any other residence permit in cases where the ICT criteria are applicable.

Highly skilled migrant (HSM) programme

When a non-EEA national is employed on the basis of a local contract in the Netherlands, the most commonly used category is the HSM programme. Under the HSM programme, residence permits are granted allowing migrants to reside and work in the Netherlands. No separate work permit is required.

Procedures

What are the procedures for obtaining these permissions? At what stage can work begin?

ICT programme

An application can be filed under the ICT programme if the employee meets the monthly gross salary threshold, which is indexed annually. The individual also needs to be employed by the company group for at least three consecutive months immediately prior to the transfer. An application can be filed while the foreign national is still abroad. Depending on the employee’s nationality, a long-term entry visa (MVV) may be required before entering the Netherlands. If this is the case, a combined application can be filed for the MVV and residence permit as an ICT, in order to achieve the required positive outcome. Once the IND has approved the application, the MVV can be collected at the consulate or embassy in the country of origin or the country where the applicant has a legal residence status. An MVV is a visa sticker that is placed in the passport. The foreign national can travel to the Netherlands on the basis of the MVV. The MVV visa sticker indicates that the ICT may work in the Netherlands as an ICT. Once in the Netherlands, the residence permit card must be collected.

HSM programme

In order to make use of the HSM programme, Dutch companies must have the status of recognised sponsor with the IND before they can file applications under the HSM programme. Once this status has been obtained, an application can be filed under the HSM programme if the employee meets the monthly gross salary threshold, which is indexed annually. An application can be filed while the foreign national is still abroad.

Depending on the employee’s nationality, an MVV may be required before entering the Netherlands. If this is the case, a combined application can be filed for the MVV and residence permit as an HSM, in order to achieve the required positive outcome. Once the IND has approved the application, the MVV can be collected at the consulate or embassy in the country of origin or the country where the applicant has a legal residence status. An MVV is a visa sticker that is placed in the passport. The foreign national can travel to the Netherlands on the basis of the MVV. The MVV visa sticker indicates that the HSM may work in the Netherlands as an HSM. Once in the Netherlands, the residence permit card must be collected.

Period of stay

What are the general maximum (and minimum) periods of stay granted under the main categories for company transfers?

ICT

In general, an ICT residence permit will have the same end date as stated in the assignment letter of the assignee. However, the ICT residence permit will be issued for a maximum duration of three years for managers and specialists, or a maximum of one year for trainees, and cannot be renewed. The individual must reside outside the Netherlands for at least six months before a new ICT residence permit can be applied for in the Netherlands. Alternatively, the individual will need to apply for a different residence status in the Netherlands.

HSM

In general, an HSM residence permit will have the same end date as the employment contract of the employee. Where the employee has a contract for an indefinite period of time, the HSM residence permit will be issued for a maximum duration of five years per issuance and can be renewed.

Processing time

How long does it typically take to process the main categories?

The processing time for the main immigration categories are as follows:

  • ICT via recognised sponsor: two to four weeks;
  • ICT not via recognised sponsor: three months; and
  • HSM: two to four weeks.

If an MVV entry visa is required, an additional processing time of two weeks will apply.

Staff benefits

Is it necessary to obtain any benefits or facilities for staff to secure a work permit?

For a work permit application, the employer is required to guarantee that a decent place of residence has been arranged.

Valid health insurance is required upon arrival in the Netherlands. Only after the foreign national is in possession of a valid Dutch residence permit card can a Dutch health insurance policy be obtained.

Assessment criteria

Do the immigration authorities follow objective criteria, or do they exercise discretion according to subjective criteria?

In general, the Dutch immigration authorities follow objective criteria when processing a Dutch immigration procedure. However, they are willing to issue work permits in special circumstances on a discretionary basis. In this case, the necessity of the work permit must be explained in detail and it is not possible to guarantee that the application will be successful.

High net worth individuals and investors

Is there a special route for high net worth individuals or investors?

A non-EEA national who wants to obtain a residence permit as a wealthy foreign investor must invest at least €1.25 million directly in a Dutch company or indirectly via an investment fund. The requirement is that the investment must be innovative or must increase employment in the Netherlands. The residence permit will be granted for a period of up to three years and can be renewed.

Is there a special route (including fast track) for high net worth individuals for a residence permission route into your jurisdiction?

See question 16. There is no fast-track route available.

Highly skilled individuals

Is there a special route for highly skilled individuals?

See ‘HSM programme’ in question 10.

Ancestry and descent

Is there a special route for foreign nationals based on ancestry or descent?

No.

Minimum salary

Is there a minimum salary requirement for the main categories for company transfers?

ICT

The gross monthly salary should be in line with Dutch market standards. The following amounts will be deemed to meet such market standards:

  • €4,500 gross per month for employees of 30 years and older (excluding 8 per cent holiday allowance); and
  • €3,299 gross per month for employees younger than 30 (excluding 8 per cent holiday allowance).

The salary must be paid directly to the bank account of the intra-company transferee. If the salary does not meet these amounts, the Dutch labour authorities will assess whether the salary is in line with Dutch market standards.

HSM

For an HSM residence permit, the following minimum gross monthly guaranteed salary thresholds apply:

  • €4,500 for employees of 30 years and older (excluding 8 per cent holiday allowance); and
  • €3,299 for employees younger than 30 (excluding 8 per cent holiday allowance).

For foreign students who have recently graduated, it is also possible to obtain a residence permit as an HSM if they meet the gross monthly salary threshold of €2,364 (excluding 8 per cent holiday allowance).

The salary must be paid directly to the bank account of the HSM. These amounts will next be indexed on 1 January 2020.

Resident labour market test

Is there a quota system or resident labour market test?

For a standard work permit application, the Dutch employer must prove that there are no suitable candidates for the vacancy on the Dutch or European labour market. For this purpose, proof must be submitted of various recruitment efforts in the Netherlands and Europe (eg, placing advertisements in the Netherlands and Europe).

A quota may be applied in the case of Hong Kong citizens, Korean nationals and Argentinian nationals who apply for the working holiday programme.

Shortage occupations

Is there a special route for shortage occupations?

There are special regulations for employees who come to the Netherlands to work as chefs in Asian restaurants, and for seasonal workers, spiritual counsellors and for certain jobs in the upper echelons of the arts and culture sector.

Other eligibility requirements

Are there any other main eligibility requirements to qualify for work permission in your jurisdiction?

No. Exact requirements depend on the immigration procedure to be followed.

Third-party contractors

What is the process for third-party contractors to obtain work permission?

In general, a work permit can be obtained by third-party contractors in specific cases. This is reviewed by the Dutch authorities on a case-by-case basis.

Recognition of foreign qualifications

Is an equivalency assessment or recognition of skills and qualifications required to obtain immigration permission?

Depending on the immigration procedure, an assessment of professional or academic qualifications is necessary. For the ICT programme, the salary threshold must be met and the employee needs to be temporarily transferred to one or several entities of the same company group within the EU. For the HSM programme, the salary threshold must be met and the salary level of the employee must conform to Dutch market standards for similar positions.