Charting the changes in immigration

25th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

Our resident expert looks at recent changes to the rules governing work permits and the minister's promise that the immigration service is getting on top of the backlog in residence permit applications.


Let me tell you about several recent developments and perhaps shed some light on the future. 

On 15 June 2004 the Dutch Centre for Work and Income (CWI) announced a change concerning its policy regulations.

From 1 July to 31 December 2004, the following occupations are exempted from the mandatory vacancy registration: managers and specialists with a gross monthly salary of EUR 3, 900 or more, sports coaches and circus artistes. This means that a prospective Dutch employer is not required to list a vacancy for a period of five weeks with the local CWI office before a work permit application can be lodged.

On 13 July 2004 the CWI made another policy change.

From 1 August to 1 November 2004, the Dutch labour market is 'open' (a work permit is still required but very easily obtained) to nationals from the EU countries Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Slovakia with regard to the following occupations: international lorry drivers (international transport), sailors and steersmen (inland navigation), radio-therapeutic laboratory workers, radio-diagnostic laboratory workers and operating room assistants (health care sector), and butchers and boners (slaughter houses and meat processing industry).

The CWI assessed that vis-à-vis these occupations there remains a definite shortage of available employees on the Dutch labour market. Note that CWI will check the aforementioned shortage every three months. If the shortage is no longer tangible, the list of occupations will be adjusted. 

In April of this year the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), took over the entire Dutch residence permit allocation system.

Advice with regard to MVV applications, residence permits, return visas, residency stickers: it is all the exclusive domain of the IND. Regrettably the IND has had some difficulty ensuring the regular legal handling and processing of applications, leading to lengthy delays.

When members of the Dutch Tweede Kamer, Lower House of Parliament, asked Minister Rita Verdonk for an explanation, she promised the IND would have its affairs in order before the end of the year.

On the IND web site ( you can find up-to-date information on the IND's availability to deal with information requests from the general public.

In week 31, the IND received 35,251 phone calls. In week 32 a total of 29,099 phone calls were made to the IND, and in week 33 the IND received 27,481 phone calls. The IND is using an extra call centre and admits that their availability requires further improvement. About 90 percent of all phone calls were answered by the IND. 

With the possible introduction of the knowledge worker residence permit category, the steady decrease of the numbers of asylum seekers, and the huge decline of the naturalisation requests, I think the IND may be facing another reorganisation. It is therefore wise not to bank too much on the Minister Verdonk's promise.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]  

Patrick R. Rovers, 
lawyer with Van Velzen CS

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, policies, procedures, work permits, visas, residence permits etc. are continuously subject to change.

Write to Patrick Rovers and Hans van Velzen

Subject: Dutch residence permits + living in the Netherlands + working in Holland 

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