Japanese nationals

Japanese entrepreneurs

On the basis of a bilateral trade treaty between the Netherlands and Japan there are lenient admission requirements for Japanese nationals. The conditions for granting a residence permit as an entrepreneur for a Japanese national are consistent with the conditions for admission of American entrepreneurs.

For immigration purposes bilateral trade treaty between the Netherlands and Japan enables Japanese nationals to obtain a residence permit fairly easily. As a result of the bilateral trade treaty, it is significantly easier for Japanese nationals to get a residence permit as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs from other countries than Japan need to show by means of a point system that their presence serves a real Dutch Economic interest. In practice this proves for many to be very difficult and brings along a lot of documentation (and therefore extra expenses) for these applicants. Furthermore these application procedures generally tend to take up much time. Unlike entrepreneurs from other countries for Japanese nationals there are just a few conditions for obtaining a residence permit.

The main conditions are:

  • Entry in the commercial register of the Chamber of Commerce.
  • Investment of a substantial capital amounting to € 4,500 in their own company.
  • Opening balance and if it is not present, any statement or forecast, prepared by an approved auditor or an authorized financial adviser.

Even though there are relatively few admission requirements for an approval under the bilateral trade treaty between the Netherlands and Japan experience has shown that for many applicants it is very difficult to meet conditions for a quick and efficient approval, such registration in the municipal registry. Therefore professional legal help during the application is not a superflous luxury.

Japanese employees

By letter dated February 19, 2015, the UWV (Dutch labor authority) confirmed that with regard to employees with Japanese nationality no work permit (TWV) or a single permit for residence and work (GVVA) may be required anymore.

This letter was released following a recent ruling of the Administrative Law Division of the Council of State (= ABRvS) of 24 December 2014. In this statement the ABRvS ruled by the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between the Netherlands and Japan from 1913 and Tract of friendship, establishment and trade between the Netherlands and Switzerland from 1875 it follows that in respect of Japanese nationals the so-called labor market should not be required that. In practice this means that, therefore, the UWV may not require a Japanese employee to be in possession of either a work permit or a single permit for residence and work (GVVA).

However the Dutch and Swiss governments have now made an interpretative statement to the treatise, in which they clarify that the temporary and permanent residence and access to the labor market of both countries based on the treatise is subject to national legislation. The statement was published on Monday, June 20th, 2016 in the so called Tractatenblad (Treaty Series).

The publication of the interpretative declaration has the effect that for Japanese workers who want to work and live in the Netherlands will be required to obtain a work permit first. Either the employer must first get approval from the UWV (Dutch labor authority) before a Japanese worker may be hired, or the employee must be regarded as a highly skilled migrant. The Secretary of State has agreed to a transitional period until 1 October 2016. This means that applications for a single permit for residence and work (GVVA), submitted on or after October 1, 2016 will be reviewed again in the terms of the Employment of Foreigners Act (Wav) as the condition that there is no availability of qualified staff within the EU for that job.

Japanese workers as a result of the above decision of the Council of State who are already in possession of a residence permit with the labor market endorsement ‘work freely permitted, work permit not required’ (arbeid vrij toegestaan, twv niet vereist), will be able to retain this permit for as long as it is valid. So there is no reason to proceed with the withdrawal of the residence permit. However the application for the extension of the of the validity of the residence permit, filed on or after October 1, 2016, will be checked against the terms of the Employment of Foreigners Act (WAV).

If you have any questions about what your possibilities for residence under the bilateral trade treaty between the Netherlands and Japan are please contact us. We are happy to assist you in submitting your application. Call (020 616 14 87) or email us (info@altadvocaten.nl) for more information.