The European Intra-Corporate Transfer permit
Everaert Advocaten is a respected leader in Dutch migration law. Based in Amsterdam, its multilingual team advises expats on residency and migration-related legal issues.
The Netherlands was amongst the first of 24 member states of the European Union committed to the timely implementation of Directive 2014/66/EC of May 15, 2014, based on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer.
As of November 29, 2016, the directive has brought essential new elements to the labour migration practice of the Netherlands:
› A standard EU-ICT permit for up to three years
› Mobility in the EU during the transfer
› National industry benchmark salaries as a permit condition
› Free national labour market access for dependents
Over the past six months, the Netherlands’ Immigration and Naturalisation Service, IND, has developed a new diversified migration management application procedure for a significant group of expats and their companies in the Netherlands and abroad.
EU-ICT permit application procedure
Companies listed with the IND as a recognised sponsor of highly skilled migrants have access to the same online portal for their EU-ICT application. The turnaround of permit decisions is two weeks. Companies not listed with the IND run the regular track of up to 90 days.
The main conditions of the EU-ICT programme that the Dutch government implements need to be adhered to by the company sponsoring the transfer of the applicant.
The company needs to declare and provide evidence that:
› The transfer is in-group.
› At the time of application, the transferee is employed outside the European Union and has not been EU-ICT employed in the last six months.
› The transferee has a job record with the sending company of at least three uninterrupted months.
› The transferee is qualified for taking a position as manager, specialist or trainee.
› There is a work contract and/or Assignment Letter.
› The applicant’s salary complies with the Netherlands’ benchmark in the concerned industry; the IND applies discretion based on the annually published salary thresholds for highly skilled migrants.
New rules for spouse, partner and children
Spouse, partner and minor children obtain a residence permit to stay with the transferee for the duration of the permitted assignment. Their right to stay includes free labour market access to employment.
The free access includes engaging in self-employed activities without first obtaining a separate work authorisation or permit.
Employees with an EU-ICT permit are eligible to apply for ICT mobility i.e. to transfer to a company in-group in another EU member state, which has adopted the ICT-directive. Great Britain, Ireland and Denmark have not adopted this directive. ICT-mobility is available for short- and long-term stay.
› Short-term mobility
Short-term mobility covers a period of at most 90 days within 180 days. The member state that provided the permit will remain the main residence.
In the case of a short-term stay, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) has to be notified two days prior to arrival and work can start immediately. The Employee Insurance Agency also has to be notified when moving from the Netherlands to Belgium, France and Germany.
› Long-term mobility
Long-term mobility covers a term of more than 90 days within 180 days. In most aligned member states, including the Netherlands, this type of mobility requires an additional, light version of the EU-ICT permit.
It includes the duration of employment, job requirements and trainee contract only, and work can start straight away. In addition, the applicant does not require a separate entry clearance visa for travel from the first member state to another.
In case the period of the transfer to the second or third member state exceeds the duration of the initial EU-ICT permit, the application is assessed in the same way as for the first transfer.
What to choose: EU-ICT, HSM or other?
The Netherlands gives priority to the EU-ICT programme but has saved its national programmes for transfers that fall outside of the scope of the Directive.
The Netherlands administers 3 programmes to authorise an intra-corporate transfer (ICT):
› The EU-ICT programme
› The national highly skilled migrant (HSM) programme
› The national ICT programme
Transfers leaving the employment relationship with the sending company established outside the EU intact can only be submitted under the EU-ICT programme of the IND.
Because the procedural frame of the programmes leaves little space for error, it is important to be well-informed of the options and implications of these programmes and to seek expert advice and assistance from an immigration lawyer when in doubt.
The EU-ICT permit is a preferred option for companies who need the best solutions available for intra-corporate mobility of their workforce in Europe.