COVID 19 update April
April 29th, 2020
The Dutch government has taken measures with the aim to prevent the spread of the COVID 19 virus. In this article we would like to inform you about the measures which affect the mobility sector in The Netherlands.
As a measure to contain the spread of the COVID 19 virus, on 16 March 2020 the European Commission recommended to the EU Member States to introduce a temporary travel ban lasting 30 days for non-essential travel of persons from third countries to Europe (all EU member states, all Schengen members and the UK). The EU proposal of an entry ban for non-essential travel has been extended until 15 May 2020. The Dutch Cabinet has decided to adopt this EU-proposal. From 19 March 2020 onwards, the conditions for entry by persons wishing to travel to The Netherlands have been tightened. Currently, the ban is effective until 15 May 2020 in The Netherlands, but it may be prolonged.
The ban restricts all non-essential travel from third countries into the EU. This includes tourists, business travellers, temporary family visits etc. In practice this means that the EU Member States and the Schengen associated countries can refuse entry to non-resident third country nationals at their external borders.
Exceptions of the travel ban
The travel restriction does not apply to the following categories of persons:
- EU citizens (including UK nationals) and members of their families;
- Nationals of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and their family members;
- Third-country nationals holding a residence card or a residence permit in accordance with Directive 2003/109/EC (LTR Directive);
- Third-country nationals who derive their right of residence from other European Directives or from the national law of a Member State;
- Holders of a long-stay visa, including persons with a temporary residence permit (MVV);
- Other persons with an essential function or need, including: personnel working in health care, border workers, persons employed in the transportation of goods (where necessary), diplomats, military personnel, personnel of international and humanitarian organizations, persons who have compelling reasons to visit their families, transit passengers who wish to travel via The Netherlands to another third country, persons in need of international protection (the border procedure applies in full), persons who are admitted for humanitarian reasons.
The treaty officers at the border will determine whether the exception is applicable. Therefore, we recommend assignees that they travel well documented.
Foreign nationals traveling to The Netherlands for work purposes
In principle, if you have been able to obtain a long-stay visa (MVV), you may enter The Netherlands. However, since most flights are cancelled these days, the applicant is most likely unable to reach his destination. If you have not received a MVV visa, because you have a visa-free nationality, you are not allowed to travel to The Netherlands at this moment.
Please take note that national authorities and customs may review the entry of residence permit card and visa holders of other Schengen countries and that these travellers will need to demonstrate essential reasons to enter. Therefore, for any travels into the Schengen Area, travellers are advised to enter the Schengen Area directly into the country of main destination or residence.
The “intelligent” lockdown
Another measure taken by the Dutch government to prevent the spread of the COVID 19 virus, is the intelligent lockdown, introduced by our Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The intelligent lockdown means that everyone stays at home as much as possible, works from home if possible and keeps 1.5 meters distance from each other. Also, many facilities (schools, restaurants, cafés, bars and gyms) have been closed to prevent the further spread of the COVID 19 virus.
The impact of COVID-19 measures on the mobility sector in The Netherlands
In The Netherlands, the Dutch immigration authorities (IND) and the Dutch labour authorities (UWV) are still operational and process new applications, renewals and change of status/employer applications, etc.
In addition, the IND has limited appointments at the IND desks to what they consider as most urgent. Only if you were able to secure an MVV abroad and have reached The Netherlands, you will at this stage still be able to collect your residence permit card, if this card is necessary for registration at the town hall and/or to take out local health insurance. Providing biometrics, obtaining proof of pending application stickers and collection of residence permit cards for internationals already residing in the Netherlands is not possible at the moment.
The IND confirmed that rights associated with an issued approval for a valid residence permit are applicable also in case the applicant is not able to collect a residence permit card or residence endorsement sticker due to the current closure of the IND desks. As a result, the applicant can start or continue the activities in The Netherlands based on the approval letter issued by the IND.
Consular desks of Dutch embassies and consulates are closed until at least 20 May 2020. Therefore, it is not possible to obtain entry visas at this moment. However, the embassies and consulates are independently authorised to extend the mentioned periods by another 90 days if you can prove that you were unable to collect your MVV visa or travel to The Netherlands with your MVV visa in time because of the coronavirus and/or the closure of the consular desk. We therefore recommend assignees to consult the website of the Dutch Embassy or Consulate in their country of origin to check when the embassies and consulates are available again.
The different town halls in The Netherlands decide individually whether they remain open or closed. More and more town halls close or limit their services to “urgent cases” only.
The measures taken by the IND and other Dutch authorities are effective until at least 20 May 2020, but may be prolonged in view of the developments.
People who are staying in The Netherlands on a short-stay visa and cannot leave the country due the COVID-19 measures, can apply for an extension of their short-stay visa by telephone at the IND, since the extension of a visa currently cannot be applied for at an IND desk. The extension can only be granted for The Netherlands and will be registered in the European Visa Information System (VIS).
Furthermore, might a Dutch residence permit expire, the permit will not be extended automatically because of COVID-19. Therefore, if a Dutch residence permit is due to expire shortly and leaving The Netherlands is currently not possible, it is important to apply for an extension. Please note that each case will be assessed on an individual basis.
Also, when the permit-exempt term of people who can enter The Netherlands without a short-stay visa will expire, but these people cannot leave The Netherlands, no further action is required. The Dutch Government will perform less controls in this exceptional period. Nevertheless, the Dutch Government expects people to keep trying to leave The Netherlands and return to their home country.
Assignees who have a visa free nationality and received their IND approval cannot travel to the Netherlands, because until the travel ban has been lifted.
Finally, regarding the information obligation of recognized sponsors, the employers need to maintain permit conditions. The employer needs to notify the IND within 4 weeks if a change has occurred in the situation of the employee or the employer. Changes such as: employee does not meet the salary threshold anymore, the employee cannot meet the start date anymore, etc. should be reported at the IND.
We are implementing the following procedures to keep everyone informed:
- Any changes that directly impact an assignee will first be addressed immediately by our Account Coordinators with our client relocation case manager for the file.
- With this blog, we will place the latest updates from the Dutch government as we receive them.
RSH ensures its clients that services are still provided. Our team will continue to work remotely from the safety of their home. We assist internationals with their particular queries and concerns on a daily basis.
Please contact us if you need our assistance. RSH is more than happy to assist with the application for an extension, a Dutch residence permit or any other relocation service needed.