Changes to Dutch residence and work policies

3rd February 2004, Comments 0 comments

In a sudden flurry of activity, the Dutch government has made several decisions that will benefit some newcomers hoping to settle in the Netherlands, while disappointing many more. Here is what happened.

 

From a legal point of view, this last week was very interesting (to say the least). The Dutch government had an extremely productive week, and interesting decisions were taken in a number of crucial matters.

First of all, to answer your question. The Dutch government has decided that for the period of May 2004/May 2005, the Dutch labor market will be open to a maximum of 22,000 nationals from the ten new EU member states (Poland, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Slovakia).

If and when a Dutch employer wants to employ a Polish national in May 2004, the employer is still required to arrange for a work permit. The Dutch Central Employment Office will issue such a work permit if the actual employment of the Polish national is consistent with Dutch labor conditions and circumstances.

 

The following countries join the EU on 1 May 2004: Poland, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Slovakia.

If the quota of 22,000 is reached before May 2005, the Dutch government will re-consider the aforementioned, and may even decide that the regular (stringent) foreign labor rules and regulations will be applicable to new EU member state nationals. 

Please note that based on the treaties between the European Union and eight new member states (Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Slovakia), the current EU members are allowed to protect their labor markets for a total of seven years.

To my knowledge, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Sweden have not imposed any restrictions till date. France has already decided to impose restrictions for a period of five years, Germany for a period of seven years. Italy, Luxembourg and Portugal are currently discussing their options. You can find more information on www.minbuza.nl.

Another interesting development is the fact that last week the Dutch government decided to issue residence permits to 2,334 foreigners, mostly asylum seekers. The decision was based on a unique arrangement or on the so-called discretionary authority of the Minister for Immigration and Integration (Vreemdelingenzaken en Integratie). With this decision, the current Minister, Rita Verdonk, can finally lay to rest one the most precarious legacies of her predecessor, Hilbrand Nawijn.

During Nawijn's last weeks/days in power, his remarks in the press caused an avalanche of petitions and letters from asylum seekers, foreigners and illegal aliens, asking for clemency and a residence status in the Netherlands. About 9,800 petitions and letters were received, and in 220 cases, the Minister for Immigration decided that a Dutch residence permit was warranted. More information can be found on www.ind.nl.

Last but not least, the Dutch, Belgian and Luxembourg governments have decided to fine tune their efforts with regard to expelling illegal aliens and rejected asylum seekers from their respective countries. In the first eight months of 2003, the Dutch government expelled a total of 2,572 rejected asylum seekers, and the financial burden was significant.

In order to save on costs, the Dutch, Belgian and Luxembourg authorities will now closely cooperate, which in practice will mean that airplanes will be chartered together to maximize efforts and minimize costs. The European Commission has committed EUR 30 million for 2005 and 2006 to set up a European agency for border management. In future, this agency will assist EU member states with regard to joint deportations of illegal aliens and rejected asylum seekers for the realm of the EU.

This column is for informative purposes only, is general in nature, and is not intended to be a substitute for competent legal and professional advice. Dutch and European rules and regulations regarding foreigners, policy, procedures, work permits, visas, and residence permits are continuously subject to change.

This column is for informative purposes only, is general in nature, and is not intended to be a substitute for competent legal and professional advice. Dutch and European rules and regulations regarding foreigners, policy, procedures, work permits, visas, and residence permits are continuously subject to change.

3 February 2004
   
Patrick R. Rovers, 
lawyer with Van Velzen CS

Patrick Rovers and Hans van Velzen

0 Comments To This Article