Intra Corporate Transfer Directive (ICT Directive)

The ICT Directive, or the Intra Corporate Transfer Directive, applies to foreign nationals from outside the EU / EEA and Switzerland, who work at a company established outside the EU and who are temporarily transferred to a branch of the company in the Netherlands. The employee must be employed as a manager, specialist or trainee.

In the context of intra-EU mobility, the employee can also be transferred under certain conditions to an establishment of the company in another EU Member State that has introduced the directive. Note that the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark do not participate in the ICT Directive.

How does it work exactly?

The employer must apply to the IND for a GVVA, a combined permit for residence and work. The employer can be recognised as a sponsor. This is not mandatory. The transfer is temporary. This can be granted for a maximum period of 3 years for managers and specialists, and for a maximum of 1 year for trainees.

The ICT Directive is given priority over the Dutch highly skilled migrant scheme. If an employer who falls within the scope of the ICT Directive applies for a residence permit for an employee under the highly skilled migrant scheme, then the IND will automatically check the application against the rules for the ICT Directive. In this case, the employer will not be granted a permit under the highly skilled migrant scheme. If the application is rejected because the conditions for the ICT Directive are not met, then it is not possible to submit a new application as a highly skilled migrant.

Requirements

For the purposes of the ICT Directive, a long list of conditions applies:

  • The employee comes from outside the EU / EEA and Switzerland.
  • The employee will be working as a manager, specialist or trainee.
  • The employee is transferred from a company outside the EU to a branch in the Netherlands.
  • The employee has been employed by the company outside the EU for at least 3 months prior to the transfer.
  • The employee has a valid employment contract with a company established outside the EU or a letter of engagement from the employer. This must contain specific information about the duration of the transfer and the location of the establishment in the Netherlands; about the position that the employee will hold as a manager, specialist or trainee; about the salary and other employment conditions during the transfer; and that the employee can be transferred after the transfer has ended to an establishment that belongs to the same company and is located in a third country. The employment contract with the company in the third country must continue to exist. No local employment contract may be concluded.
  • The employee has the qualifications and experience required as a manager or specialist in the branch to which you will be transferred.
  • The trainee employee must have a Master’s degree. The trainee employee is required to follow a trainee program and will not be employed as a normal employee.
  • If the employee has a regulated profession (such as an architect or doctor), the employee must have recognition of the foreign professional qualifications.
  • The salary must be in line with the market. In principle, this is the salary criterion for highly skilled migrants.
  • The branch in the Netherlands was not set up to facilitate the admission of transferred workers to the EU.
  • The Netherlands is the member state of the longest stay during the transfer.
  • The employer or branch in the Netherlands carries out economic activities.
  • The employee did not stay in the Netherlands for an earlier transfer within the company during the 6 month period immediately prior to the application.
  • The employer or branch in the Netherlands did not receive any sanction in the 5 years immediately preceding the application for violation of Article 2 of the Foreign Nationals (Employment) Act or for non-payment or insufficient payment of wage tax, employee insurance premiums or national insurance schemes.

Intra EU mobility

An employee who has an ICT GVVA can apply for intra-EU mobility. This allows the employee to be transferred to another location of the company in another Member State within the EU. Note that this Member State must participate in the ICT Directive. The United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark do not do this.

Short-term

Intra-EU mobility can be requested for the short and long term. The short-term mobility is possible for a stay of up to 90 days in a period of 180 days. The employee stays in the Netherlands (if that is the country of the first application). In the case of short-term mobility in the Netherlands, the employer must inform the UWV (obligation to notify) about the short-term stay. After that the employee may perform work immediately.

Long-term

Long-term mobility is possible for a stay of more than 90 days in a period of 180 days. In the case of long-term mobility in the Netherlands, the employer must apply for a residence permit. However, an MVV (an entry visa) is not required. After submitting the application, the employee may perform work immediately. When reviewing the application, a number of conditions associated with the ICT GVVA are not reviewed again.

The employer in the Netherlands applies for the GVVA. The decision period for this is 90 days, unless the employer is a recognised sponsor, in which case the decision period is then usually two weeks.

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