Want to read about immigration law? Check the columns by Hélène Jonker featured below.

Dutch citizenship and Queen Maxima

After five years of consecutive legal residency in the Netherlands, a Dutch passport may be obtained by naturalization or by opting through the Dutch Immigration Service, the IND. For those nationals who are married or who are in a relationship with a Dutch national, naturalisation is possible after three years. In both instances, the foreign national must pass the Dutch Integration exam, may not have a criminal record and must be prepared to renounce their original nationality (unless their own nationality legislation does not allow them to renounce their nationality).

Opting through the IND is possible for foreign nationals who have long-term connections or a strong bond with the Netherlands. This can, for example, be a foreign national that has resided in the Netherlands for an extended period of time or former Dutch citizens. This procedure is faster than the naturalisation procedure and a Dutch Integration Exam is not required.

Considering the above requirements, I often receive the question how our dear Queen Maxima obtained her Dutch citizenship. Of course there is always an exception to the rule. As soon as important Dutch interests are served, the law considers highly exceptional cases. I am happy to say that Queen Maxima was thus able to acquire Dutch citizenship within one year.

2016 minimum salary requirements knowledge migrants and 30% ruling

Inbound expatriates must monitor their Dutch immigration- and tax status (on a continuous basis). This article is to illustrate why a combined immigration law and international tax approach to expatriates moving to the Netherlands is so important.
Knowledge migrants may often benefit from the 30%-ruling (tax status). Apart from several other (different) conditions, both regimes have a set of similar but confusingly different minimum wage conditions.
The minimum wage conditions for the 30% tax ruling as per January 2016 can be calculated as follows.

The Monthly taxable wage excluding holiday bonus (and excluding the 30% reimbursement):

  • for an employee of 30 years or older must be more than € 2,846. Including the maximum 30% reimbursement this Monthly remuneration should be more than € 4,066;
  • the monthly taxable salary excluding holiday bonus and excluding the 30% reimbursement for an employee with a master’s degree and who is younger than 30 years, must be more than € 2,163. Including the maximum 30% reimbursement this Monthly remuneration should be at least € 3,091.

A typical Dutch international tax advisor would therefore advise that a total Monthly remuneration (including the 30% reimbursement excluding 8% holiday bonus) of € 4,066 should be sufficient for a regular expatriate moving to the Netherlands under the 30% ruling.

This advisor should however keep the minimum salary threshold for knowledge migrants in mind. With respect to the knowledge migrant regime the 2016 salary thresholds are € 4,240 (over 30 years) and € 3,108 (under 30 years) gross per month, 8% holiday allowance excluded. Keeping the Monthly remuneration of € 4,067,- in mind, this typical expatriate will not be eligible for the knowledge migrant procedure!

In this respect, the correct (combined tax and immigration) advice for knowledge migrants would therefore be that the minimum Monthly remuneration should be at least € 4,240 (instead of € 4,067).

Business in the Netherlands

Foreign nationals entering the Netherlands on business, for a total period of 3 months, often do not realise that work authorisation is required. When warned, I often have stubborn reactions: “but I am here for only a few weeks and will only participate in meetings”.

As a general rule, I inform my clients (EU/EEA/Swiss nationals not included) that work authorisation is required, irrespective of the duration of the working activities. For some limited categories of activities however, work authorisation is waived. Business meetings on behalf of the home country employer is indeed one of them. But do you realise that the business person may only share procedures? Sharing procedures means exchanging information on an equal level (peer-to-peer). It should not include knowledge transfer neither may it include any training activities. Furthermore, the work authorisation requirement is waived for a maximum of 13 weeks within a 52 week period, be it interrupted or not. And what happens when you leave the meeting room and check and answer your emails in the room next door? Yes, you are working and yes, authorisation is required.

Software implementation is another activity that may fall under the grey area of exemptions. As long as the foreign national travels to the Netherland to install and implement software products on equipment manufactured and supplied by the home country company of the employee, there will be no issues. But what happens to the Indian national travelling from India to the Netherlands to implement software on equipment manufactured in, for example, the United States? Yes, work authorisation is required.

Lastly, did you know that Dutch wage tax may be due on these Dutch working days (even if authorisation is not necessary)? This will, for example, be the case if no Dutch tax treaty applies or if your wage is charged to a Dutch entity.
It is recommendable to check ahead whether specific activities fall under an exemption. So please be warned, the above are not the only exceptions, and contact us on time. We will be happy to check whether the activities are covered.

The Knowledge Migrant entering the Netherlands

Various immigration law procedures allow foreign employees to enter, stay and work in the Netherlands.
Entry and stay in the Netherlands depend on nationality and duration of stay. Non-visa nationals (e.g. US nationals) can enter with their passport. Visa nationals (e.g. Indian nationals) require an entry visa. For periods of stay exceeding 90 days in a 180 day timeframe, additional residence authorization is required.

In the tangle of immigration law procedures, the so-called knowledge migrant may obtain a combined entry and residence permit with work authorization. This expedited immigration route is only available for employees transferred to or hired by a Dutch company registered as a recognised sponsor with the Dutch Immigration Authorities (IND). The employee must be on an assignment or obtain a local contract of minimum 4 months and must meet the salary threshold of € 4189 (over 30 years) or € 3071 (under 30 years) (2015 threshold) gross per month.

As every year, the salary threshold for knowledge migrants will increase as of January 1st. Although the official 2016 salary thresholds will be published later this month, an increase of 1.6% is anticipated. Since it is possible to submit applications 6 months prior to the employment start date, it is advisable to file the knowledge migrant application before year end.