The vast majority of skilled migrants living in the Netherlands hail from EU member states. The Netherlands is home to some 100,000 highly-educated (temporary) migrants. Those from EU member states or the European Economic Area (EEA), including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, do not require work or residence permits. However, skilled migrants from non-EU or EEA countries do require such permits. In addition, they require their employers to act as sponsors when applying for work and residence permits with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service. However, there is one exception to this rule, which applies to Turkish employees. Along with other non-EU countries such as the United States, China and India, Turkey has become a major supplier of highly-educated workers.
Turkish migrants enjoy special rights in the Netherlands due to the Association Agreement between the European Economic Community (EEC) and Turkey signed in 1963, which was later expanded by an Additional Protocol signed in 1973 and Decision No. 1/80 of the Association Council, issued in 1980. These treaties were signed because at the time, Turkey was expected to join what is now called the European Union. Hitherto, Turkey has not joined the Union, and it now seems unlikely it will do so. However, Turkish migrants still enjoy special rights in the Netherlands. The legal status of Turkish employees has been the subject of many legal proceedings ever since, but court orders have only improved Turkish people’s legal status. For instance, judges have ruled that Turkish migrants are not obliged to attend civic integration courses.
The EEC-Turkey Association Agreement, the Additional Protocol and Decision No. 1/80 all have implications for the need for sponsorship, which is firmly embedded in Dutch immigration policy. We should emphasise here that Turkish employees do require both residence and work permits. These are generally obtained by submitting a gecombineerde aanvraag (GVVA), which is a dual application for both a work and a residence permit. Such applications are submitted by employers and are generally granted.
Unlike other skilled migrants hailing from outside the EU, Turkish nationals who have been allowed to work in the Netherlands since the Modern Migration Act came into effect cannot be required by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service to have an employer who is willing to serve as a sponsor.
Pursuant to the Modern Migration Act, companies employing Turkish migrants are under no obligation to provide additional information on their employees or meet additional administrative requirements. However, Turkish migrants themselves are still required to notify the authorities when they no longer meet the legal requirements for staying in the Netherlands (i.e. when the reason(s) for which they were granted a visa no longer exist(s)) and when they leave the Netherlands. The Modern Migration Act came into effect in June 2013 and was brought into force at the same time as the National Visa Act. Both acts govern common reasons to apply for a visa, such as work, study and/or reunification of a family.
If an employer does not wish to act as a sponsor for a Turkish employee, he cannot be required to do so. Nor can he be required to meet sponsor requirements such as the obligations to collect and store information on migrant workers, follow administrative procedures, care for the migrants, etc. In addition, in the event a Turkish migrant worker is deported, his employer or former employer cannot be held liable for some of the costs of said deportation. However, the migrant himself can be held liable for these costs. Employers who refuse to act as sponsors are obviously not allowed to apply for work permits on behalf of their Turkish employees as sponsors. However, they are allowed to do so in their capacity as a Turkish employee’s authorised representative.
Naturally, an employer can volunteer to act as a sponsor for a Turkish migrant worker. The Dutch Umbrella Company recommends doing so, since applications supported by sponsors are generally processed more quickly. In order to fast-track an application for a work permit, which requires additional administrative procedures as well as an obligation to provide additional information, an employer must formally register as a sponsor. Since the Dutch Umbrella Company is a formally recognised Immigration and Naturalisation Service sponsor, we are able to have your work permit approved quickly and without much hassle.
If you have any questions after reading this blog, or if you wish to learn what we can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact us via [email protected] or call us at 020 820 1560.
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