• New Law Will Streamline Immigration Processing But Increase Employer Obligations
  • March 18, 2013
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • All applicants for work and residence authorization in the Netherlands will be eligible for a combined entry visa and residence permit application process beginning on June 1, 2013, when the Modern Migration Policy Act will take effect. Dutch employers will be subject to new legal obligations. Employers participating in the Knowledge Migrant Scheme (kennismigrantenregeling) and their highly skilled foreign employees will also benefit from shorter processing times under the new legislation.

    Combined Visa and Residence Permit Application Process

    The new law streamlines the process for obtaining visas and residence permits. Under a new Admission and Residence Procedure (Toegang en Verblijf, or TEV), employers and foreign nationals will file a single application for an entry visa for long-stay purposes (Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf, or MVV) and a residence permit with work authorization. Once the MVV has been issued, the Dutch Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) will automatically grant the residence permit with work authorization. Sponsoring employers will be able to apply for residence permits on behalf of visa-exempt foreign nationals who are still abroad, greatly simplifying the process for these individuals.

    Currently, a visa national must obtain an MVV, travel to the Netherlands and apply separately for the residence permit after entry.

    New Sponsorship Obligations for All Employers

    Because the combined MVV and residence permit application process will reduce the levels of government review during the application process, the IND will increase employers’ responsibilities and penalties for noncompliance. Dutch employers sponsoring foreign workers will be legally obligated to:

    • Inform the IND of any changes to the purpose of a foreign worker’s stay;
    • Maintain records of their foreign workers for five years after the sponsorship period has ended;
    • Ensure careful recruitment and selection of Dutch workers before hiring foreign workers; and
    • Guarantee the repatriation of foreign workers at the end of their assignments. The IND will have the authority to recoup the cost of repatriation from a sponsoring employer if it determines that a foreign worker has remained in the Netherlands illegally.

    Accredited sponsors will also be required to inform the IND of any changes that are relevant to their accredited status. Sponsors will be subject to financial penalties if they do not fulfil their legal obligations, and a sponsor’s accreditation may be suspended or cancelled in cases of severe noncompliance, which may also ultimately lead to criminal prosecution.

    New Accredited Sponsor Program

    A new accredited sponsor program will establish a streamlined and faster procedure for obtaining work and residence authorization for highly skilled workers. Dutch employers will still need to be registered with the Knowledge Migrant Scheme (KSM) in order to sponsor highly skilled foreign nationals. However, as accredited sponsors under the new program, KMS employers will benefit from a processing time of two to three weeks for work and residence permit applications. Like all employers, they will be able to submit applications on behalf of visa-exempt foreign nationals who have not yet entered the Netherlands.

    Employers seeking to sponsor highly skilled migrants will be required to participate in this new program. Employers registered in the KMS will automatically become accredited sponsors, provided they have successfully applied for at least one residence permit since January 1, 2010. All other employers will be required to register for the KMS and apply for accreditation before they may sponsor highly skilled migrant applications.

    Employers will be subject to the accredited sponsor requirement for all initial and renewal applications filed on or after July 1, 2013.