Changes in Dutch immigration law 2008

Changes in Dutch immigration law 2008

2nd January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Introducing the 'burgerservicenummer' (BSN) and other changes to Dutch immigration law for the new year. A report from our tax experts at Ernst and Young.

Uniform personal number

In July 2007 a new law was adopted by the Dutch Parliament, aiming to simplify the data processing between different authorities, as well as the communication between authorities and citizens. With this new law – which entered into force on 26 November 2007 - one uniform personal number has been introduced, the so-called 'burgerservicenummer' (BSN).

The BSN will make an end to the use of different personal registration numbers. Since the BSN is used for different purposes, issuing tasks have been allocated to the local town hall.

Previously, all foreign nationals who needed a social fiscal number ('sofi-number') had to apply for such a number at the authorised tax authorities. In order to be able to apply for a 'sofi-number', an appointment had to be made with the tax authorities. During this appointment the 'sofi-number' was issued.

Now (as of 26 November 2007) the local town halls are in charge of the issuing of BSN's for foreign nationals who are registering at the local town hall.

At the same time, 'sofi-numbers' of foreign nationals who were already registered at the local town hall have been automatically changed into a BSN.

The tax authorities will remain authorised to issue 'sofi-numbers' to foreign nationals who cannot be registered at the local town hall. For instance, in case they will not be residing in the Netherlands for more than four months within a period of six months.

New salary requirement for knowledge migrants

The salary requirement for knowledge migrants is being indexed on an annual basis. As of 1January 2008 the salary requirement to fall within the scope of the knowledge migrant policy, will increase as follows:

The knowledge migrant should earn a gross salary of at least EUR 47,565 per year (EUR 34,881 if aged under 30 years) to obtain a (temporary) residence permit as a knowledge migrant.

Graduated foreign students

As of 19 December 2007, foreign students, who graduated in the Netherlands, will have a one-year period as of their graduation to find a job in the Netherlands. During that year, the graduated student is allowed to work in the Netherlands without restrictions.  They will, however, have to be self-supporting. Furthermore, the salary requirement for a foreign graduate student who starts working as a knowledge migrant in the Netherlands has been reduced to EUR 25,000 (gross) per year.

Foreign students with the nationality of an EU-country (except Bulgaria and Romania), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland do not need a work permit or knowledge migrant permit to work in the Netherlands.

Evaluation regarding work permit requirements for employees from Bulgaria and Romania

In our alert of December 2006 we announced that Bulgaria and Romania would join the EU as of 1 January 2007. Furthermore we announced that the Dutch government had decided in this respect that a work permit would still be required for employees of both countries during a transitional period of two years and that after year the situation would be evaluated.

Currently employees from Bulgaria and Romania still need a work permit to work in the Netherlands. The Dutch government will present the results of the above mentioned evaluation in the second quarter of 2008.

Extension of the Schengen area

As of 21 December 2007 the Schengen area has been extended to include following nine countries: Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia. This means that as of this date surveillance at internal borders and harbours has been abolished. The abolishment of surveillance at airports will be effectuated as of 30 March 2008.

The immigration team at Ernst & Young ( will continue to keep you informed about any further developments regarding the above issues.

2 January 2008

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