Dutch Switch To Points System For Knowledge Immigrants

Dutch switch to points system for knowledge migrants
Expatica News
22 May 2006

AMSTERDAM The Dutch government has agreed to modernise the country's migration procedures. Of particular interest to expats is a new points system for 'knowledge' and 'high-quality' migrants.

Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk got cabinet approval on Friday for a simplification of the system which results in a cut in the number of entry and residence permits from 29 to 5 categories.

The centre-right coalition government said the reforms better reflect the national interest by combining the country's restrictive entry policy with greater selectivity. “The new policy will be based more on the need for migrants that exists in Dutch society,” a spokesperson for the Justice Ministry said on Friday. Verdonk's department is part of the Justice Ministry.

The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) has been severely criticised over several years for being overly bureaucratic and slow in handing resident permit applications. Verdonk hopes to improve the IND's performance by simplifying and centralising the processing of applications, and making more use of digital technology.

Companies will have a greater say in the selection of migrants under the new system, the government said.

The five categories of permits under Verdonk's reforms cover exchange and temporary work; study and regular employment; 'knowledge' and 'high-quality' work; family and partner reunion; and humanitarian grounds.

The first category covers temporary workers and people on exchanges. They can receive a non-extendable residence permit valid for a maximum of one year. Holders of this type of permit will not be entitled to bring in family members or obtain social welfare. They will not have to take an integration course.

The second category allows residency to students and workers for the duration of their study or employment in the Netherlands. A holder can apply to bring in family members if he or she can support them, but the temporary permit is invalidated if the holder applies for social welfare. This temporary permit can be converted into permanent residence.

The cabinet is to investigate whether international students who have completed a course at a third-level education institute should be allowed to stay longer in the Netherlands to look for work. They can currently stay for three months after completion of their studies.

A points system is the key element of the third category for high-quality, knowledge and work migrants. Foreign workers not assigned to the Netherlands by a company can be granted entry on the basis of their skills. The government said this regulation is intended for “innovative business people, freelance researchers and creative top talents”.

People who make use of this 'talent regulation' can be granted a two-year residence permit in the first instance. It can be converted into a long-stay permit after five years.

Expats with an employment contract come into consideration for a five-year permit straight away.

The family and partner category allows entry to relatives or partners of a Dutch person, the holder of long-stay residence permit or a person with asylum status. Newcomers granted a family permit are free to seek work and must undergo an integration course.

Victims of persecution or human smuggling, as well as people who need medical treatment in the Netherlands, can apply for a residence permit on humanitarian grounds.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]