Virginia, US
We have been informed by the Dutch authorities that there are plans to introduce a so-called “hybrid permit” that would combine the Knowledge Migrant permit with the Entrepreneur’s Permit.
 
This was anticipated by a letter sent to the Parliament in June 2015, which stated that the Dutch government wants to allow self-employed workers to be able to be employed as highly skilled migrants, with the hopes that this will encourage innovative entrepreneurs. Moreover, to stimulate entrepreneurship the hybrid would also allow knowledge migrants and scientific researchers to start their own business, next to their sponsored employment.
 
On February 23 I joined the European Commission conference on Migrant Entrepreneurship and the Dutch representative included in her remarks that the hybrid permit is expected to be rolled out this year. I was told that we could see the hybrid permit as early as July 2016.
 
The implications of a hybrid permit are massive for self-employed foreign nationals, as they would be free to take up regular employment in the Netherlands and support their growing enterprise, even without meeting Knowledge Migrant salary minimums or having a sponsor. Moreover, dependent spouses would also be able to take up regular employment.  For migrant entrepreneurs, this will certainly be welcome news.
 
The Dutch government is also interested in enabling highly skilled and technically savvy knowledge migrants to open innovative companies in the Netherlands without having to go through the onerous Entrepreneur’s Permit process.  We do note that companies employing knowledge migrants in the Netherlands may want to take a look at HR policies and employment agreements to ensure that there are adequate restrictions on side-line activities, if that is a priority for the company.
 
It is not entirely clear how the hybrid scheme would work. I was told that entrepreneurs will receive a so-called “labour note” on their card indicating that they are free on the labour market, while knowledge migrants will have a notation on their residence card that they may work as self-employed.  We don’t know if this will be an automatic policy or if there will be an application procedure.
 
We will of course publish a client alert when more is known about the “hybrid permit”, particularly when the exact requirements for qualification (if any) are published.  In the meantime, if you would like to know more about the Knowledge Migrant scheme in the Netherlands please contact Massimo Maesen at mmaesen@fragomen.com and to learn about being self-employed in the Netherlands please contact Christine Sullivan at christine.sullivan@fragomen.com.