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Expats: New rules for the transfer of non-European employees

Publication date 14 February 2017

New rules for admission to and residence in the EU for non-European employees transferred to the European branch of their employer! Which regulations apply?


Employees who are not nationals of an EU-Member State and are transferred to a European branch of the company must apply for a residence permit in the EU-Member State they are transferred to. Under what conditions will they be admitted to an EU-Member State? How long can they stay there? And are they tied to one Member State or are they allowed, just like EU-citizens, to move freely within the EU?

Under what conditions are expats admitted?

Employees transferred for a specified period as managers, specialists or trainees to the European branch of their employer must apply for a permit for “intra-corporate transferees”. This permit will only be granted if an expat meets a number of conditions. These conditions are meant to prevent unfair competition and to warrant that only expats are admitted who will add value to the knowledge-based economy of the EU.

Expats may be entitled to this permit in the Netherlands if they:

  • Have been employed by a non-EU branch of the company for three consecutive months prior to the transfer. If you wish to employ a person for the European branch instantly, you will have to confine yourself to EU citizens.
  • Can produce an employment contract of the employer containing information about the duration of the transfer and the place of business of the European branch and demonstrating that the expat will be in the position of manager, specialist or trainee. Non-specialist staff must be recruited from within the EU.
  • Live outside the Netherlands at the time of the request and had not been posted to the Netherlands for six months prior to the request.
  • Can demonstrate that they have the experience, certificates and qualifications required by the entity established in the EU-Member State and earn a salary that meets the conditions for knowledge migrants.
  • Have or have applied for health insurance covering at least anything the citizens from the respective Member States are covered for. This is meant to prevent that sickness of the employee will be at the expense of the European State.
  • Have the required travel documents under the law of the respective Member State. A passport is required for admittance to the Netherlands but, depending on the country of origin, a Provisional Residence Permit (Machtiging Voorlopig Verblijf; MVV) may be required.

How long are expats allowed to stay?

Executive staff and specialists from third countries can be transferred for a maximum period of three years. A maximum period of one year applies to trainees.

What happens when the residence permit has expired?

If the period established for the transfer or the maximum period has expired, the expat must leave the territory of the European Union, unless a residence permit was obtained in a different way. This may be the case if the expat has meanwhile married an EU-citizen.

Where is the expat allowed to stay?

Expats with an intra-corporate transferee permit are not restricted to stay in the Member State that has issued the permit. They can also stay in other Member States and work for the same company in these Member States. However, the stay will be limited to 90 days within a period of 180 days per Member State.

If the employee intends to stay for more 90 days in a different Member State, this Member State may decide:

  • To allow the employee to stay on its territory and to work for as long the permit issued in the first Member State is valid; or
  • That the expat must submit another admission request, followed by another assessment as to whether he or she meets the conditions.

What can we do?

Would you like to learn more about regulations for expats in the Netherlands? We can advise you on the admission of your employees to the Netherlands. From monitoring deadlines to communication with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), we will gladly assist you during the entire process. Please contact us:

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