In December 2014 the Dutch Council of State confirmed that Japanese nationals no longer require a work permit to work in the Netherlands, although a residence permit was still required. The Council referred to the Dutch-Japanese trade treaty, which states that Japanese nationals must be treated as equal to the most-favored migrants, which are Swiss nationals in accordance with the Dutch-Swiss treaty of friendship. Since work permits were not required for Swiss nationals, Japanese nationals were also free to work in the Dutch labour market. The Netherlands and Switzerland have recently clarified the Dutch–Swiss treaty of friendship by stating that immigration topics are governed by national law. As a consequence, work permits are required once more for Japanese nationals as of 1 January 2017.
What does this mean for employers?
Employers will need a work permit for Japanese nationals working for them in the Netherlands again. Japanese nationals currently owning a residence permit that states no work permit is required may continue to work while their current residence permit is still valid. For extensions of residence permits filed after 1 January 2017 or new cases, a work permit must be obtained by the employer.
What action is required?
In particular, employers of highly skilled migrant workers will need to be registered as a ‘recognised sponsor’ in order to hire highly skilled Japanese migrants.
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