Dutch corporate immigration and how Covid-19 impacts Dutch (corporate) mobility

How are companies in The Netherlands working with current immigration legislation and Covid-19 requirements to hire highly skilled migrants?

Many countries around the world, such as India or South Africa, have experienced a complete lockdown due to the coronavirus. As such, immigration services have often shut down completely. Dutch immigration authorities however, have continuously been able to perform their tasks, focusing on efficiency and effectiveness.Especially when it comes to corporate immigration, the Netherlands was quick to make exceptions to certain immigration categories to allow foreign nationals to enter even if they came from countries flagged as orange where the rate of infections with the virus and deaths were high and a travel ban to the Netherlands/Europe applies.Currently, exemptions have been made in the travel restrictions for highly skilled employees, including researchers, students and their accompanying family members. With the highly skilled migration coming to a near-full stop earlier this year, this positive news has led companies in need of international talent to start recruiting or assigning staff from outside the EU again. Therefore, highly skilled immigrants have found their way again into the EU.

The Netherlands: hiring highly skilled foreign workers

Expat Management’s immigration team assists particularly companies with obtaining work and residence authorization for their expats. To be able to hire Highly Skilled Migrants in the Netherlands, the employer needs to have obtained a sponsorship license from the Dutch Immigration Authorities (IND) and the Highly Skilled foreign national needs to meet a certain salary threshold. For 2020, the salary criteria for a foreign national under the age of 30 are Euros 3381 gross per month and for foreign nationals over the age of 30, Euros 4612 gross per month.EMG-in-text-banner1If the Highly Skilled Migrants is hired from outside the EU and comes from a country for which a long-term entry visa is required such as for example India or China, he or she will need to obtain an MVV and apply for it at the respective Dutch representation after a positive decision by the IND has been issued.With the current Covid-19 situation even if many Dutch consulates and embassies are still officially closed, on some occasions, foreign nationals were still able to secure their long-stay entry visas (MVV’s) or obtain a Schengen visa for a family member. Often the request needed to go through non-official communication channels such as Facebook or Whatsapp.For the Netherlands, the salary is considered the most important criteria to be eligible for the Highly Skilled Migrant Scheme. In contrast to other EU countries, no diploma needs to be submitted under this immigration category. For Highly Skilled Migrants no quotas apply as the Netherlands wishes to attract as many foreign highly Skilled workers to fill the positions where no EU national or Dutch national can be found.

Residence permits for non-married partners, registered partners and gay couples

In the Netherlands, contrary to other jurisdictions also non-married partners, registered partners and gay couples can obtain a residence permit under different categories. Under most immigration categories, it is possible for the partners to work without a separate work permit as the Netherlands wants to stimulate that spouses can easily participate and have access to the Dutch labor market so that they feel integrated as well. Many positions offered are for English speaking, so the Dutch labor market is quite open to foreign nationals. However, in practice and in case of a smaller company knowledge of Dutch is very much appreciated by Dutch co-workers.Also in times of Covid-19, the Netherlands has allowed foreign partners of EU or Dutch nationals to visit their partner in the Netherlands for a maximum of 90 days within a 180 day frame, provided they can prove that they have had an exclusive and genuine relationship for at least 3 months.

The Netherlands: The Blue Card

Apart from Highly Skilled Migrants, the Blue Card is not very often applied for in the Netherlands and in sharp contrast to for example Germany or Belgium, where the Blue Card is one of the most commonly used application category for Highly Skilled foreign migrants, the Blue Card is not very attractive for many employers as the salary threshold is higher and in case of a foreign diploma it needs to be validated by Nuffic, the International Diploma Accreditation Agency, which may take some weeks which means processing times for a first-time application will also be a lot longer.

EU ICT category immigration category

Another immigration category which is used very frequently by Dutch sponsoring companies is the EU ICT category in case of an Intra-Company Transfer to the Netherlands from a branch outside the Netherlands. The Netherlands implemented the European Directive in time, and since then, many applications have been submitted under this scheme as also companies that are non-recognized sponsors qualify for this scheme. Provided the person in question has managerial or specialist skills or is a trainee and employed by the foreign company for at least 3 months and complies with the salary threshold, a combined work and residence permit under this category is rather quickly and smoothly to be obtained via the company.

Covid-19 and immigration to the Netherlands

What is noticeable during this sanitary crisis is that many companies are recruiting Highly Skilled Migrants that are in possession of a valid legal status already in the Netherlands or from within Europe as this currently is a safer option that a start date will be met and brings fewer insecurities.As the figures of COVID-19 infections are currently rising again, the Dutch government is introducing more measures in an effort to gain control over the virus. At Schiphol airport, people returning home from countries marked as high-risk areas, may be asked to get tested upon arrival. If tested positive, they need to quarantine at home for 10 days and the Dutch health authorities (GGD) may check whether they actually stay at home. Testing cannot be forced on passengers, but if the person does not cooperate, he or she may be required to quarantine for 10 days even in the absence of any symptoms.  After all, the Netherlands remains a safe, innovative and beautiful country for many foreign nationals who wish to relocate here, especially in view of devastating economic implications the pandemic has caused in many of their home countries. In addition, the way the Dutch government handles the pandemic is less rigid, based on self-control and responsibility, without taking away the general freedom of people to live their daily lives. In other European countries such as Spain, Italy and France where the confinement measures were very rigid and impacted the personal freedom of many for the sake of health, the side-effects were people finding themselves in extremely difficult economic situations and also led to daily conflicts and protests against the measures taken by the governments to contain the virus.Let’s hope that a second wave of corona will not become a reality and that the measures taken by the Dutch government will help to reduce the spread of the virus. It remains an effort by everyone to adhere to the rules and to act in a responsible and solidary manner to protect especially the elderly and people with a higher risk of getting infected. Expat Management Group ensures continued high level services to companies and foreign nationals in adhering to the local rules and providing its legal advice adapted to the government’s measures and recommendations. Additionally, our relocation department assists with setting up all practical arrangements for a smooth landing in the new home country. 

Get in touch with Expat Management Group

Read more  in our dedication immigration section or visit our Coronavirus resource center

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