Japanese nationals will soon require a permit to work in the Netherlands

From 1 October 2016 a work permit will be required for Japanese nationals coming to work in the Netherlands. Following a ruling by the Dutch Council of State (Raad van State) on 24 December 2014, Japanese nationals had free access to the Dutch labour market. The ruling was based on a ‘most favourable’ clause in the trade treaty between the Netherlands and Japan (1912), which referred to the Dutch-Swiss Treaty of 1875, as a result of which Japanese nationals were to be treated equally to Swiss nationals. 

The Dutch and Swiss governments have now drafted an interpretive statement attached to the Treaty of 1875, wherein they clarify that residence, settlement and access to the labour market in both countries on the basis of the Treaty is subject to national legislation. In this case, Dutch national legislation states that Swiss nationals have free access to the Dutch labour market while Japanese nationals require a work permit in order to work in the Netherlands. The Dutch Council of State has yet to comment on the new interpretation of the Treaty. 

What this means for you as an employer? 

A work permit will be required from 1 October 2016 for Japanese employees. Current Japanese employees who have a residence permit stating that they are free on the Dutch labour market will retain this residence permit as long as it is valid. However, a work permit will again be required for applications to extend a residence permit submitted on or after the 1 October 2016. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to your usual PwC Legal contact for further details.


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