• Foreign Investors Scheme Eligibility Criteria Relaxed
  • August 3, 2016
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • Proposed changes to the Foreign Investors scheme, a residence permit based on investment of at least EUR 1.25 million in the Netherlands, have been adopted. Key changes include the following:
    • The visa duration has increased from one to three years;
    • The requirement to obtain a report from an accountant registered in both the home country and in the Netherlands has been eliminated; and
    • Foreign investors are only required to meet two of the three existing criteria under the points system (instead of all three, as was previously required). If the investment is not considered innovative, the investor must create at least 10 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions within the first five years after the investment, and six new FTE positions by the time of extension (after three years).
    Additionally, the authorities have clarified that investment in real estate for the purpose of any habitation, even by someone other than the investor, will not qualify for the permit.

    Background

    The Foreign Investor’s permit was introduced in October 2013 to allow foreign nationals to obtain residence rights by investing at least EUR 1.25 million in the Netherlands. Currently, there are four possibilities for investment:
    • Directly in an innovative Dutch company;
    • A contractual joint venture that invests in one or more innovative companies;
    • A participation fund affiliated with the Netherlands Venture Capital Association (NVP); and
    • A seed fund recognized by the Minister of Economic Affairs.
    The funds must be deposited in a Dutch bank account or a bank of an EU member state with a branch in the Netherlands that is under supervision by the Dutch banking authority. The foreign national must demonstrate that the funds were not acquired by illegitimate means. To verify this, the Dutch Financial Intelligence Unit has the right to investigate the origin of the capital.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    The changes should allow more investors to become eligible for the Foreign Investors scheme, since the requirement that the investment be innovative has deterred many investors, as has the previously-short permit duration.