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NETHERLANDS: Implementation of the Modern Migration Policy bill, which amounts to an overall revamping of the Dutch Aliens Act, has been postponed until mid-2011

The Modern Migration Policy bill (MMP), which will amount to an all-over revamping of the Dutch Aliens Act, was intended to take effect on January 1, 2011. Due to information and communication technology (ICT) issues, implementation has been postponed until mid-2011. The MMP introduces a system entirely focused on the sponsor. Sponsors will be allowed to apply on behalf of the foreigner for a visa and residence permit. The sponsor will face stricter obligations under the MMP, sanctioned with financial and administrative penalties. Companies acting as sponsors may apply for recognized status from Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst (IND), giving them access to facilitated visa procedures, in particular for knowledge migrants.

The Knowledge Migrant Scheme, a fast-track immigration program based on salary thresholds, is still the most relevant immigration scheme for highly skilled migrants. The salary thresholds as of January 1, 2011, are as follows: foreigners aged 30 or over must earn a gross annual salary of € 50,619. For foreigners under the age of 30, the knowledge migrant salary threshold is € 37,121. For foreign students graduated in the Netherlands, the threshold is € 26,605. The government plans to introduce a skills test, but no such legislation has been proposed yet.

The EU Blue Card will definitely be implemented this year. It was intended to be introduced together with the MMP, but since the MMP has been delayed, the EU Blue Card will most likely come into force on June 19, 2011, which is the final implementation date for EU members to implement EU Directive 2009/50 in national legislation, in the absence of which the Directive has a direct effect and must be respected by the national authorities when anyone invokes its provisions. The EU Blue Card is primarily based on a salary threshold. The Dutch government has announced a threshold of € 60,000 gross annual salary.

The points-based system for independent entrepreneurs and investors was eased somewhat as of October 22, 2010. Before this date, at least 30 points had to be scored for each of the three categories: personal experience, business plan, and added value to the Netherlands. Under the new policy rules, 45 points or more in each of the first two categories are also sufficient, rendering the criteria "added value to the Netherlands" no longer decisive for foreign entrepreneurs and investors who apply for a residence permit.

As of January 1, 2011, sponsors or guarantors of applicants for a short-stay Schengen visa will have to use a new form with the name "proof of guarantee and/or private provision of accommodation." This form replaces the old invitation letter and the sponsor declaration. The form has to be authorized by the municipality where the sponsor or guarantee is located, before it is sent to the consulate.

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