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Implications of the ICT directive for businesses

The ICT directive that was implemented on November 29, 2016 has some implications that are very important for businesses to know. The ICT directive should make immigration of non EU citizens to or within the EU easier. However, there are some issues that require some attention.

ICT directive and employees who have recently signed a contract

The first issue is that for employees who have only recently signed a labour contract will have to wait until they are 3 months employed by the foreign entity before they can be assigned to the Netherlands. The highly skilled migrant procedure that was always used for this category of assignees is no longer available for employees who will remain on the foreign payroll. This means that companies who recruit people abroad and wish to assign them to a project in the Netherlands immediately, will not be able to do so if the employee will remain on the foreign payroll. A faster immigration procedure to the Netherlands will only be possible if a local contract (with the Dutch entity) has been signed.

ICT directive and projects that will run for > 3 years

Another important issue is that the ICT permit is only valid for 3 years (1 year for trainees). A new permit can only be applied for when the employee has lived outside the EU for a minimum period 0f 6 months. This means that if your company has a project that will last longer than 3 years and particular employees are required in the Netherlands for this project this will only be possible if they will get a local contract. Only employees with a local contract will be entitled for the highly skilled migrant procedure – assuming that they meet the requirements.

The expectation is that both issues will not be fixed on a short notice and it is even unsure if they will be fixed at all.

After arrival

Employees who come to the Netherlands on a ICT permit, can only start working after they have collected their physical residence permit at the Dutch immigration authorities IND. A declaration in the employee’s passport is not sufficient!

More information about the ICT directive can be found on the Dutch immigration authorities’ site.