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Netherlands: Combined Residence and Work Permit Implemented for Some Foreign Workers

(Apr. 28, 2014) From April 1, 2014, qualified foreign nationals who come to the Netherlands to work for a period longer than three months will receive a combined residence and work permit (gecombineerde vergunning voor verblijf en arbeid) from the country’s Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst, IND) by going through a single procedure. Formerly, workers had to apply to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for the residence permit and to the Netherlands Employees Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen) for the work permit. (A Single Permit for Work and Residency from 1 April, Government of the Netherlands website (Apr. 1, 2014).)

The use of the combined permit and the single application procedure, in conformity with a European Union directive on the subject, is aimed at third-country nationals – those outside the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. (Id.; Directive 2011/98/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on a Single Application Procedure for a Single Permit for Third-Country Nationals to Reside and Work in the Territory of a Member State and on a Common Set of Rights for Third-Country Workers Legally Residing in a Member State, O.J. (L 343) 1 (Dec. 23, 2011).)

While most labor migrants from outside the EU will be eligible for the combined permit, seasonal workers, students, asylum seekers, those who will work in the Netherlands for less than three months, and Croat nationals will still be required to obtain a work permit, and highly skilled migrants will still only need to have a residence permit. (A Single Permit for Work and Residency from 1 April, supra; Working As an Employee, IND website (last visited Apr. 24, 2014).) The single permit system also does not apply to family members of single-permit holders. (Working as an Employee, supra.)

The combined permit “is a residence permit that includes an additional document specifying at which employer, in which function, and under which conditions the foreign national is allowed to perform the work.” (Id.) The Dutch Inspectorate for Social Affairs and Employment can fine the employer if those conditions are not met. (Id.) Once the permit has been granted, the IND notifies the applicant’s employer; the document will then be issued to the applicant in person. (Working As an Employee, supra.)

The conditions for coming to work and live in the Netherlands remain unchanged for foreign nationals. They will still be subject to the requirement that no Dutch or EU laborers are available for the given type of work and to a verification procedure to establish whether they are engaged under the proper terms of employment. The IND will be responsible for the combined work permit and its issuance. (A Single Permit for Work and Residency from 1 April, supra.)