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Japanese-Dutch Trade agreement

For Japanese nationals it is less complicated to obtain a residence permit to start a business in the Netherlands than for other non-EU nationals. This is due to the Japanese-Dutch Trade agreement. For any other type of work, Japanese must obtain work authorization

Starting a business in the Netherlands

To start a company in the Netherlands, a residence permit is required. Japanese nationals, who plan to start, develop or manage a business in the Netherlands, must invest a minimum amount of €4.500 in the undertaking to qualify for a residence permit for entrepreneurs.

Japanese entrepreneurs are not subject to the regular – and stricter – point-based system for entrepreneurs. They do not need to prove that the intended business activities are innovative or otherwise beneficial to the Dutch economy.

The residence permit

The first permit is granted for 2 years and – when renewed – a permit with a 5 year duration is issued.
At the time of applying for renewal of the permit, all conditions must still be met and the capital investment must be maintained at the same level.

The permit allows the entrepreneur to work for his/her own company exclusively. For any other type of work, e.g. regular employment, a work permit is mandatory.
Family members qualify for a permit for dependents, with the same duration and with no work permit requirement.

Intra-company transfers (ICT)

A company that transfers Japanese employees to the Netherlands may choose whether it applies for residence permits under the ICT program or the highly skilled migrant program.
For non-EU transferees to the Netherlands, the EU ICT Directive has precedence over national programs. Only if the application does not fall within the scope of the ICT Directive, a residence permit for highly skilled migrants can be issued. However, this rule of precedence is not applicable to Japanese nationals.

An application for an ICT permit requires more supporting documents than for a highly skilled migrant permit. The ICT permit however, offers advantages such as mobility within the EU. Please find an overview here.

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