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Work Permit Exemption (International Commercial Trade Regulations Program)

Employers in the Netherlands, like many other countries, are always in need of specialist skills from outside their country or the EU. For Dutch businesses that need overseas expertise for a specific project, it may be possible to utilise the Netherlands International Commercial Trade Regulations Program to secure the Netherlands immigration permission needed. Here, we will explain the purpose of the Netherlands International Commercial Trade Regulations Program for the Netherlands, the eligibility criteria, and the application process.

What is the Netherlands International Commercial Trade Regulations Program?

In mid-2017, the government of the Netherlands introduced the International Trade Regulation (ITR). The aim of the ITR is to widen the range of Dutch work permit exemptions available by allowing non-EU nationals to carry out specific temporary projects' activities in the Netherlands without the need to first obtain a work permit. This reduces the time and overhead involved in securing the permission needed to get foreign skills and resources in place for specific projects.

This route is particularly suited to projects whereby a Dutch customer has purchased goods and services which need to be implemented by a foreign supplier or service provider. For example, we're installing, setting up, and providing training for a new IT system or item of specialist machinery.

Can I use the Netherlands International Commercial Trade Regulations Program?

To make use of the International Commercial Trade Regulations Program in the Netherlands, the following criteria must be met:

  • The worker must be from outside the EU
  • The proposed project must be temporary in nature
  • The proposed project must be directly related to international trade – this may include trade activities such as collaboration, a partnership, a contract for delivery of goods or services, providing training or guidance on the operation of new machinery/equipment.
  • The business in the Netherlands must be listed on the Commercial Register in the Netherlands

The Dutch work permit authorities (IND) will take into account a range of other considerations when determining eligibility for this program, including:

  • Whether the work is being undertaken in the capacity of the foreign company.
  • Whether the non-EU contractor undertaking the work has the knowledge and expertise of the needed
  • The value of the goods and/or services involved and the value of the project itself
  • The number of non-EU nationals involved in the project
  • Whether giving permission to the non-EU national may impair the Dutch labour market.

Under the program, unlike with a normal work permit in the Netherlands, there is no need for the Dutch business to become a licensed sponsor (although doing so can result in much faster processing of the application); on this matter, the IND explains, “Your employer can choose to become a recognised sponsor. This is not obligatory. Recognition as a sponsor has various advantages”.

How do I register a project under the Netherlands International Commercial Trade Regulations Program?

The Dutch entity must register the project with the IND to gain the permission needed to allow a non-EU worker to complete the work required in the Netherlands. The following information will be needed by the IND to make an assessment whether permission can be granted under the program:

  • What the project involves
  • The precise roles and duties of the non-EU workers who will be working in the Netherlands on the project
  • The expected duration of the project
  • The value of the contract, including the goods, services, and overall project
  • How many workers will be sent to the Netherlands to complete the project
  • The skills and expertise held by the non-EU workers for the project
  • Why it is not possible to use EU workers for the project

In parallel, the employee also needs to apply to the Dutch representation in their own country or their country of continuous residence. IND states, “You submit the application in person to the Dutch representation in your own country or the country of continuous residence. This is possible by appointment only. During the appointment, your biometrics will be taken. From the Dutch representation, you will receive a confirmation letter with your alien registration number (V-number)”. After the appointment, the employee needs to send their application and any required documents to the IND in the Netherlands and pay the required fee.

If the project and employee applications are approved by the IND, there is no requirement for the Dutch company to acquire a TWV for those foreign employees who enter the Netherlands to work for the project. Rather, they only need to notify IND of the arrival of the foreign employee/s. IND states, “For information on the criteria a project must meet and how to register a project, your employer can contact IND”.

If approved, the non-EU worker can collect their long-stay visa (MVV) from their local Dutch representation and then travel to the Netherlands.

In addition, a residence permit will be required by the non-EU worker working on the project – this can be applied for by the employee or employer in the Netherlands.

How much does it cost to register a project under the Netherlands International Commercial Trade Regulations Program?

The cost to register a project under the Netherlands International Commercial Trade Regulations Program is €320.

How long will it take to receive a decision on my Netherlands International Commercial Trade Regulations Program application?

It should take no longer than 90 days to receive a decision on your Netherlands International Commercial Trade Regulations Program application.

How long is admission granted under the Netherlands International Commercial Trade Regulations Program?

Permission is typically granted for up to three years. If the project exceeds this timescale, a new application must be submitted.

Reiss Edwards have the resources and expertise to assist with all aspects of Dutch immigration. If you need assistance with your application under the International Commercial Trade Regulations Program for the Netherlands or any other immigration matter, contact our Dutch immigration lawyers on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk

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