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Immigration to the Netherlands

Lying at the heart of Europe, the Netherlands is one of the most popular business locations in the world. The Dutch economy has been one of the most stable and innovative economies for decades, offering phenomenal business opportunities for international companies and talented professionals. Many also find their way to the Netherlands due to family relations. Although immigration policies for non-humanitarian purposes are selective, they also reflect that the Netherlands needs — and embraces — international collaborations and partnerships.

The legal specialists of Mynta Law help both foreign and Dutch companies and individuals with small and large immigration issues. Whether you want to learn more about business immigration of skilled migrants and entrepreneurs, are a foreign student interested in your extended stay opportunities in the Netherlands, or have a question about migration options for your family, we will answer all your questions quickly and professionally.

Below you can find information about some of the immigration policies that exist in the Netherlands.

Residence permits for entrepreneurs

The Netherlands has a long tradition of international trade and entrepreneurship. The port of Rotterdam is an essential gateway from which goods are shipped to and from Europe. The Netherlands are also at the forefront of technological developments. Among others, the Dutch industry is internationally known for its quality architecture, logistics, renewable energy, and innovative agriculture and horticulture. Therefore, there is a lot of international interest in Dutch knowledge and quality.

Immigration applications from entrepreneurs are assessed through a points-based system. The applicant provides a business plan with their request. This plan is then evaluated on three qualities: the personal background and contribution of the applicant, the market potential and finance, and the innovation and / or job creation that the company provides. On the basis of these qualities, it is decided whether approving the application serves the Dutch interest.

Mynta Law has extensive experience in assisting foreign investors with (the development of) their business plans, and in preparing and submitting their residence applications.

ATTENTION! There are different policies regarding Turkish, Japanese, American and Croatian entrepreneurs. There is also a different policy for innovative startups.

Family migration

The policies on family migration are largely governed by the European directives, to which the Dutch government is bound. The Dutch family migration policies have become stricter in recent years, especially where sanctioned by the European directives. An example of this is that immigrants are now required five years of legal residence with a partner before they are entitled to an independent residence permit. Partners are also required by law to report the circumstances of their residence to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). The rules regarding the compulsory civic integration process are also perceived as strict.

The Netherlands is flexible however in regards to unmarried couples and LGBT relationships. And unaccompanied minors can often procure their independent residence permit in a relatively quick procedure.

Mynta Law advises on all legislation relevant to family migration.

International students

Almost one hundred thousand international students study in the Netherlands. Most of them are from the EU, and the largest group of non-European students is from China. University education in the Netherlands is known for its high quality, both within Europe as well as abroad. Many doors therefore open to those who have a Dutch diploma. You don’t need to understand the Dutch language to study in the Netherlands; many international bachelor and master programs are taught entirely in English.

Dutch universities and colleges submit the residence permit applications of their foreign students themselves; the IND recognizes them as sponsors. Universities and colleges are required to monitor the academic progress of their international students. If your grades are poor, or if you unregister yourself as full-time student, your university is usually required to inform the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). The IND will then withdraw your residence permit. There are some important exceptions to this rule, however. For example, if your study is delayed because you are on the board of a student government, or if the delay is due to personal circumstances.

Graduates have the possibility to request an orientation year. Access to the Dutch labor market is also facilitated for foreign Allumni of Dutch universities in other aspects. Do you have a Dutch bachelor or master diploma? Then the Netherlands would like to offer you the opportunity to build a career here.

Mynta Law advises international students about relevant legislation, and assists students in simple and complex immigration questions. We mediate in (potential) conflicts between students and their universities, for example about study progress. If necessary, we will sue the IND when a student license is unjustly revoked.

Search Year

The Dutch knowledge economy has a constant need for highly qualified people. In 2007, the Netherlands introduced an immigration policy that grants access to the Netherlands for the most highly educated young people from all over the world, wherever they are from. The Search Year policy applies primarily to foreign students who have obtained a Bachelor or Master in the Netherlands, or who have conducted research as a PhD candidate, a postdoc, or otherwise. These people are eligible for a Search Year permit, which allows them to work in the Netherlands without any restrictions.

The Search Year policy also applies to graduates outside the Netherlands who have obtained a Master’s degree or PhD in one of the 200 highest ranked universities in the world. With the Search Year policy, the Netherlands hopes to appeal to these people as well.

Mynta Law helps both foreign students in the Netherlands and graduates from abroad with the request of their orientation year permit.

Startup policy

The Netherlands has one of the most innovative economies in the world and stands fourth on the Global Innovation Index of 2013. Important innovations like the DVD, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi have sprouted from Dutch soil. The Netherlands has more than 10 leading innovation hubs around world-class universities.

The immigration rules for startups have become more lenient in the Netherlands in order to give free rein to innovation and entrepreneurship. In January 2015, the Startup policy entered into force. This arrangement makes it possible to obtain a temporary residence permit of one year to create an innovative startup. The main conditions are the innovative nature of the company and working with a qualified startup supervisor / facilitator. The costs of living for this first year must be financed in advance.

As of January 2016, the procedure by which the startup license is extended has been simplified considerably, hereby strengthening the position of the startup supervisor.

Mynta Law assists starting businesses with their residence applications. Mynta Law also advises startup supervisors about the admission procedure for foreign startups.

Foreign investors

The Netherlands has an excellent business climate for foreign companies and investors. The economy is knowledge-intensive, high-quality, and innovative. Whether it is for intensive agriculture and horticulture, the generation of renewable energy, or the development of new technical developments, the Netherlands is internationally leading. The quality of life in the Netherlands is also first-rate; the Netherlands has a very transparent government and an independent justice system, civil liberties are effectively protected, Dutch education is of excellent quality, and public goods like air and water have a high level of protection.

The Netherlands has a competitive immigration policy for foreign investors who contribute to the Dutch economy with a substantial investment. The policy has existed since 2013. Since then it has been improved on a number of important aspects.

To qualify for a residence permit, a sum of at least 1.25 million euro has to be invested in the Dutch economy. The investment must be of added value for the Netherlands; employment and innovation are the two main indicators. One can invest in a company or fund, or in seed funds designated by the government. Investment in real estate meant for private residence falls outside the immigration regulation. The last condition is that the means by which the investment is made is not of malicious origin; this will be investigated by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). A Dutch audit report is not required.

The residence permit for foreign investors is valid for three years, after which it can be renewed. The renewing of this permit does not require a new investment; The IND will only check whether the investment is still available.

The policy frequently raises questions among investors. Mynta Law advises both foreign investors as well as the Dutch business community about the immigration regulations for foreign investors, and assists with applications that fall under this policy.

Objections and (higher) appeal

Do you disagree with a decision you have received from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND)? You usually have the right to object. To object to a decision, you have to send your appeal to the IND within four weeks. If you have made the objection in time, the IND will again decide and take the arguments you have raised in your complaint into consideration. You will first have the opportunity to explain your case at a hearing.

If, after the objection procedure, you also don’t agree with the second decision, you usually have the right to appeal in court. The independent administrative court then assesses the legality of the decision addressed to you on the basis of your appeal.

Lastly, appeal against decisions of the court may be lodged with the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State, which is the highest administrative court in the Netherlands.

The specialists of Mynta Law assist companies and individuals in all these legal stages.