The Dutch immigration procedures will soon become even more welcoming for foreign workers. The Dutch highly skilled migrant program is already the most facilitating immigration program in the European Union. With the introduction of the Modern Migration Policy (MMP) in 2011, the application procedure will be even more so. Next to this the EU Blue Card will be introduced.
Highly skilled migrant program
The Dutch highly skilled migrant procedure is straightforward and fast. It involves a salary threshold only, no skills or education test are required. The processing time for visa is two weeks, for the resi-dence card itself four weeks. The current salary thresholds are €50,183 gross per annum for those aged 30 or over; € 36,801 for those under the age of 30. The program is also very accommodating to spouses and partners of the highly skilled migrants; they are allowed to work without a work permit.
Modern Migration Policy (MMP)
The MMP, anticipated to take effect on 1 January, 2011, involves an overall revamping of the immigration rules and processes for regular migrants. One of the keypoints of the MMP is to make the application procedure for the highly skilled migrant program even faster and more straightforward than it already is. The MMP introduces a system in which the sponsor, e.g. the employing company, is the most relevant actor. Sponsors can apply on behalf of the immigrant for a visa and residence permit. Processing time will be two weeks and the residence card will be waiting for the immigrant to pick it up immediately after arriving in the Netherlands . These facilities are only available to companies who have been acknlowledged as recognised sponsors by the Dutch Immigration Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, IND). Companies who have hired at least one highly skilled migrant in 2010, will automatically be listed as recognised sponsor under the MMP.
MMP: electronic filing
More interesting and significantly different than the current procedure is that recognised sponsors under the MMP no longer have to submit the underlying documents, e.g. a labor contract. A simple written statement, sent to the IND by e-mail, is accepted as proof that the requirements for issuing the residence permit are met. This facilitated processing before entry will be compensated by a system of routine checks and audits afterwards.
MMP: duties and sanctions
(Recognised) sponsors will have obligations under the MMP that can be fined if not met. The sponsor has a duty to inform the IND about all relevant changes, a duty for careful recruitment of the highly skilled migrant and a duty to keep relevant information about the highly skilled migrant in their administration for five years. A first offence of these obligations will lead to a warning, the second to a fine of €3,000, with a increase of 50% for a repeated offence. In case of very serious offences the recognition can be withdrawn.
EU Blue Card
As of 1 January, 2011 it will also be possible to apply for an EU Blue Card in the Netherlands. The EU Blue Card is a residence permit for highly skilled migrants for stay in one of the territories of the Member States of the EU. The requirements are not as straightforward as they are for the Dutch highly skilled migrant permit. The Dutch salary threshold for the EU Blue Card is set at a gross salary of €60,000 per annum. Also required is a diploma such as a Bachelor or Masters degree.
What will be the advantage of the EU Blue Card? It offers the migrant a certain level of mobility within the EU after 18 months of residing in the Netherlands. After this period it is possible to apply for an EU Blue Card in another member state of the EU. These 18 months of legal residency will not be ‘lost’. That is, periods of residence in different member states may be cumulated to qualify for a permanent residence permit after five years. The EU Blue Card therefore is a good instrument for companies with different branch offices in the EU to move around their employees. Obviously, it also enhances the position of the individual highly skilled migrant in the sense that they have better options to work in another member state, whether or not with the same company.
The Dutch immigration procedures will become even more facilitating with the introduction of the MMP. Entry is fast and easy, routine checks are done afterwards. The EU Blue Card will be a good alternative compared to the higly skilled migrant program for companies with different branch offices in the EU.
Kroes Advocaten / Immigration Lawyers