NETHERLANDS – New Permit to Implement EU Intra-Corporate Transfer Directive
The Dutch government has published regulations for the introduction of a new EU (European Union) ICT (intra-corporate transfer) Permit, effective 29 November 2016.
The new EU ICT permit implements Directive 2014/66/EC of 15 May 2014 “on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer”, and replaces the established Highly-Skilled Migrant Scheme for intra-corporate transferees who remain on home contract.
Who is Affected?
- Non-EU national managers, specialists and trainees being transferred within a group of companies to the Netherlands from outside the EU for more than 90 days and remaining on home contract.
- Non-EU national managers, specialists and trainees who are holders of an EU ICT Permit issued in another EU Member State, being transferred temporarily within a group of companies to the Netherlands and remaining on home contract.
- Applications for initial residence permits or extensions under the Highly-Skilled Migrant Scheme which are still pending on 29 November 2016 will be decided under the existing scheme.
- Applications under the Highly-Skilled Migrant Scheme submitted on or after 29 November 2016 which meet the criteria for the new EU ICT Permit will only be considered for the latter, as the EU ICT Directive is clear that the new permit should supersede national programs.
Dutch EU ICT Permit
- The Dutch EU ICT Permit allows holders to stay in another EU Member State, and work for a company in the same group, for up to 90 days in a 180-day period, without obtaining a separate permit in that country.
- For stays of more than 90 days in another EU Member State, the Dutch EU ICT Permit holder may need to apply for a “mobile ICT permit” for that country but will be able to start work once the application is submitted. They may alternatively only need to notify the immigration authorities in the second destination country, and will at any rate not require a separate long-stay entry visa.
EU ICT Permit Issued Elsewhere
- A holder of an EU ICT Permit issued by another Member State will be able to work in the Netherlands for up to 90 days after notifying the Dutch labour authorities(UWV).
- For stays of more than 90 days and up to three years for managers and specialists (up to one year for trainees), a holder of an EU ICT Permit from another Member State will need to apply for a Mobile ICT Permit from the Dutch immigration authorities (IND). They will be able to start work once the application is submitted.
What else has changed?
- Duration and Extension - The EU ICT Permit is valid for a duration of stay of up to three years for managers and specialists, and up to one year for trainees, and is not extendable. The assignee may apply for a new EU ICT permit after six months outside the Netherlands. Alternatively, the assignee may switch to highly-skilled migrant status if they first obtain a local Dutch employment contract. (Under the existing Highly-Skilled Migrant Scheme, intra-corporate transferees on home-country contract have been able to stay in the Netherlands for the length of the assignment up to five years, and it has been possible to extend the permit beyond this.)
- Processing times – The EU ICT Permit will allow applications from both Authorised Sponsors and regular, non-recognised sponsors. Authorised Sponsors will benefit from reduced document requirements and expedited processing times of around three weeks, while applications from regular sponsors will take up to 90 days and require more paperwork.
- Residence Rights - Unlike the Highly-Skilled Migrant Scheme, a period of stay in the Netherlands on an EU ICT Permit does not count towards an accumulation of residence to qualify for permanent residence.
- Dependent Benefits - Family members of an EU ICT assignee can join the holder immediately and are also allowed to work without having to obtain separate work authorisation. They are also exempted from an integration exam. In addition, it will be possible for transferees and their family members to engage in self-employed activities under the EU IC Permit.
General Requirements and Benefits
- Managers and specialists must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree or five years of experience at that level, and trainees must have a Master’s degree.
- For a first-time application in the Netherlands, managers, specialists and trainees must demonstrate at least three months of experience with the sending company, and must have their main residence outside of the Netherlands.
- Holders of an EU ICT Permit issued in another EU Member state do not need to demonstrate any previous experience with the sending employer but do need to submit a copy of the existing EU ICT Permit issued by that other Member State.
- The assignee must be paid “according to market conditions”, and there is no clear specific threshold. However, the immigration authorities have indicated that the existing highly-skilled migrant threshold will be acceptable for the ICT Permit.
Directive 2014/66/EC of 15 May 2014 “on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer” aims to create a consistent EU-wide system for non-EU nationals sent on assignment within a group of companies to EU Member States.
The deadline for EU Member States to transpose this directive into their national legislation is 29 November 2016. The United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark have opted out of the directive.
- Companies which are not Authorised Sponsors can use the EU ICT Permit route to sponsor non-EU nationals on intra-corporate assignment who remain on home-country contract;
- Companies in the Netherlands intending to sponsor non-EU nationals for intra-corporate assignment with home-country contract should bear in mind the new limited duration of stay and no extension rule for this category;