On December 24, 2014 the Dutch Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State (Raad van State) ruled that Japanese nationals are allowed to work in The Netherlands without obtaining a work permit. The ruling is based on a treaty between Japan and The Netherlands from 1913, which states that Japanese nationals should be treated the same as citizens of the most favored nation with regards to (among other things) residence and employment (a clause referred to as the “most favored nation treatment” clause). The most favored nation in this regard is Switzerland, whose citizens have obtained exemption from requiring a work permit on November 27, 2001 based on a new interpretation of an even older treaty between Switzerland and the Netherlands, from 1878.
On February 19 the labor office (UWV) officially confirmed in a letter that, based on this ruling and as long as both treaties remain in place, Japanese nationals will no longer require a work permit to be allowed to work in The Netherlands. The law on employment of foreigners (Wet Arbeid Vreemdelingen – Wav) will shortly be amended accordingly by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.
This does not mean, however, that Japanese nationals can just come to the Netherlands and start working. The Immigration and Naturalization Department (IND) confirmed this week by phone to PLG| KGNM Netherlands that Japanese nationals are required to apply for a residence permit if planning to stay for more than 3 months. According to the information received this week, in order to be allowed to start working the application for a residence permit needs to have been filed and subsequently the applicant must have either obtained a sticker from the IND in their passport stating work is allowed without a work permit, or the residence permit itself must have been issued.
Note that estimated processing times for the residence permit application are as of yet unknown, since the internal process at the IND for such applications is still being finalized, but application forms have become available in the beginning of this week. Employers and employees should be aware that the information above has only been received by phone at this time –apart from the application forms the IND has not yet published any information on their website regarding the new process applicable to Japanese nationals, and in the coming months changes could still be made to the process as outlined above.
Pro-Link GLOBAL will continue to monitor the situation for Japanese nationals and share relevant updates as they become available.
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