Thursday 22nd of February 2018 06:18:38 PM


Immigration Policy in the Netherlands
 Copyright: Everaert Advocaten, Hermie De voer
published: 3 June 2013


In order to work in the Netherlands, Israeli nationals need both a visa, a residence permit and/or a work authorization. In some cases of short stay, Israeli nationals may be exempted from the requirement of a work authorization. 
Israeli citizens can enter the Netherlands for holidays without a visa.


This summary will provide basic information to companies and entrepreneurs from Israel who find themselves confronted with immigration issues for the Netherlands as their gateway to Europe. 


1 Short term stay
The Netherlands is one of the countries of the European Union (EU). The EU-countries on the European mainland have a common visa policy and a common visa, called 'Schengen visa'. Israel is exempted from the visa requirement. This means that Israeli citizens are allowed to stay in any one of the EU countries on the European mainland for a short stay up to 90 days.
2 Long term stay
Long term stay, is stay intended to last more than 90 days in a period of six months.

3.1 Entry clearance visa or long term stay visa (MVV)
Israeli citizens planning to come to the Netherlands for a stay of more than three months, need to apply for entry clearance by way of a visa for long term stay (MVV). This visa can be applied for at the Dutch Embassy in Tel Aviv. For employees who need to be sent to the Netherlands on a long term assignment, this entry visa for long term stay can also be applied for directly with the Immigration Department in the Netherlands through a sponsor in the Netherlands, for example the subsidiary or the branch office of the Israeli company that wants to send its employees, or the company receiving the employees. 

Applicants are not allowed to be in the Netherlands pending the processing of their long term stay visa (MVV).

3.2 Residence permit 
All Israeli nationals who have arrived with a long term stay visa, allowing a stay of more than ninety days need to apply for a residence permit (verblijfsvergunning) within five days from their arrival date. The processing of a residence permit is by category and may take from two to four weeks for the category of 'highly skilled migrants' (kennismigranten) to four to six weeks for the category of regular employment (arbeid in loondienst). 

All Israeli nationals with plans to work in the Netherlands, either as a self-employed entrepreneur or as an employee on company payroll, will need to obtain a work authorization. In cases of short term stay, different rules apply to different situations, so a case to case assessment is required.   
For employment and business activities during a short term stay up to 90 days in a period of six months, incidentally in certain work situations work permit obligations may be waived. The main examples are:
- participating in business meetings for up to four weeks in thirteen weeks; and 
- engaging in installation, implementation and user training of software products developed and sold to the Dutch customer by the Israeli employer/manufacturer of the software. 
Please note, that different rules apply to each particular case. 

1 Work authorization for employees

1.1 The Highly Skilled Migrant Scheme (kennismigranten)
The HSM scheme is fast and the document burden is small. It basically involves a salary threshold only, no skills test, and the processing time is two to four weeks. Applications are only available to listed employers. 

Listing of employers
Israeli companies that want to employ Israeli nationals as highly skilled migrants (kennismigrant) have to be listed with the Dutch Immigration Department (IND). Companies can obtain a listing in 4 to 6 weeks. The main requirement is that the company has paid up all Dutch wage taxes and social security premiums. For companies based abroad who do not yet have a legal entity in the Netherlands and/or who do not have a Dutch payroll administration, preparatory additional arrangements have to be made to prevent delays or even refusals.

Salary requirements
The salary thresholds for highly skilled migrants per 1 January 2013 are:

€ 52.010.- gross salary per annum for those aged 30 or over;
€ 38.141.- gross salary per annum for those under the age of 30;
€ 27.336 - gross salary per annum for graduates from Dutch Universities and Polytechnics. 

These salary requirements are indexed every year. 

Israeli family members (spouse and underaged children) are allowed to accompany the highly skilled migrant (kennismigrant) and will have full access to the Dutch labor market. They can either travel together with the employee or travel separately at a later point in time.

1.2 Work permit schemes
Since the above mentioned highly skilled migrant scheme is fast and relatively easy, Israeli employers should aim at using this scheme. Alternatively, there are more complicated but however still very feasible work permit schemes for Israeli companies. Under a work permit scheme, work authorization is obtained by issuance of a work permit by the Dutch Work Permit Authority (UWV Werkbedrijf). The processing time is a five weeks maximum, but in most cases between two and four weeks. Please note that the work permit must be obtained first, before a long term stay visa and/or a residence permit can be granted. 

1.2.1 Intra-company transfer scheme
The intra-company transfer scheme allows for temporary assignments of transferees from Israeli based companies with international operations and an annual sales turnover of at least € 50 million globally. 

The scheme is exclusively for highly qualified staff at a managerial level or in a high technical position. In 2013, the salary threshold for such staff is € 52.010 gross per annum. Also, young professionals can be transferred to the Netherlands in a trainee position for a managerial or technical position. For such trainee positions the offered salaries must be at Dutch market level. 

Israeli family members (spouse and under aged children) are allowed to accompany the intra-company transferee, but will have limited access to the Dutch labor market. They can either travel together with the employee or travel separately at a later point in time.

1.2.2 Interns and trainees (non-intra-company)
Two types of interns coming from Israel are eligible for a Dutch work permit. Israeli students who are still in college or at a polytechnic and come to the Netherlands for a traineeship counting to their degree or diploma: interns or stagiaires. Young Israeli employees who are relatively new on the job and need further training in the Netherlands: trainees or praktikanten

Companies in the Netherlands can only hire a maximum of 10% of their entire personnel as foreign interns (stagiaires), and have to limit the number of foreign trainees (praktikanten) to 10% of the total number of employees, with a minimum of two. 

2. Independent entrepreneurs / investors
Israeli entrepreneurs and business proprietors are only allowed to undertake business activities once they have obtained a residence permit as an independent entrepreneur (i.e. at least 25% ownership share). Obtaining such a permit involves an assessment and advice by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs confirming that the new company or intended business activity will serve and support an essential interest of the Dutch economy. The assessment is made by applying a points based system, taking into account personal experience, the business plan, and added value for the economy of the Netherlands. 

Israeli artists can also apply for a residence permit as a self-employed artist. Obtaining a residence permit as an entrepreneur in the artistic, cultural world involves an assessment and advice by the Dutch Ministry of Cultural Affairs confirming that the artist serves a Dutch cultural need. You need to prove that there are well known Dutch cultural institutions that have a need for your presence in the Netherlands. 

A new immigration policy will come into force as of 1 June 2013, called the Modern Migration Policy Act (MoMi). This new immigration Act will bring profound changes in both immigration procedures as well as in its policy. The requirements and conditions of the various residence permits will stay unchanged. One of the procedural changes is that from 1 June onwards the entry clearance visa and the residence permit will be applied for and decided upon in one procedure. Another change under MoMi is that there will be one permit for interns and trainees for the goal of work and learn. Another new category of residency has been designed for so-called wealthy immigrants. If Israeli citizens own sufficient financial assets to live of the interest these assets generate they might be eligible for a residence permit in the Netherlands. The interest threshold is the equivalent to the salary threshold of the knowledge migrant salary, currently that is € 52.010,- yearly. This means that your financial assets must be worth at least € 1.300.000,-. The residence permit for wealthy immigrants will be valid for five years and will give free access to the Dutch labor market. 

In general, after having lived in the Netherlands for more than five years continuously with a valid residence permit for a non-temporary goal, such as employment or family reunion, one is eligible for naturalization. If you are married to a Dutch citizen or have a registered partnership with a Dutch citizen or are in an unmarried relationship with a Dutch citizen you are eligible for naturalization after three years. You have to be older than 18. You cannot have a criminal record in the four years previous to your naturalization request. You need to have passed the integration test and you need to participate in a naturalization ceremony where you have to swear an oath of allegiance. You also have to withdraw from your Israeli nationality. An exceptions is made when you are married to or have a registered partnership with a Dutch citizen and if you have lived together with that same person for more than three years uninterruptedly. 

For more information about immigration to and naturalization in the Netherlands please contact Hermie de Voer at Everaert Immigration Lawyers.

The article was written by: Hermie De Voer, Attornery at law, senior associate

Phone: +31 20 752 32 22

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