Facilitation of intra-EU mobility

Jun 8, 2016

Foreign employees transferred from a foreign based parent company to a Dutch subsidiary, may obtain a work permit under the intra-company transfer procedure. The group of companies must have an annual worldwide turnover of at least € 50 million and should have at least one corporate establishment in the Netherlands owned for at least 50%. The employee must meet specific (salary and work experience) requirements and upon approval of the work permit, may work in the Netherlands.

A question often raised is whether the intra-company transfer work permit allows for work in other EU countries. Unfortunately, being a typical national scheme, the procedure only allows working activities in subsidiaries established in that specific country.

The Council of the European Union luckily adopted a Directive on the conditions of entry and  residence in the framework of intra-company transfers making it easier (and quicker) for multinational companies to assign their employees to subsidiaries situated in the EU, but also to facilitate the mobility of these transferees between the Member States during their assignments. Subject to a number of conditions, it is possible to enter (Schengen visa obligations are exempted), stay and work in Member States other than the one to which they were initially admitted. Family members will be able to accompany the transferee with access to the national labour market.

The € 50 million turnover requirement has been prohibited by the EU Directive and may thus be disregarded. In this respect, the intra-company transfer procedure can also be used for start-up subsidiaries, by companies who do not yet have a legal entity or payroll in the Netherlands and by companies who transfer staff for the first time. The Directive thus makes the intra-company transfer procedure more flexible than the present national scheme.

According to the European Commission, 15 000 to 20 000 intra-company transfers will be admitted annually under the framework of the Directive.

All Member States must transpose this directive within two and a half years and thus by November 29th 2016.