In these post-referendum days, we will have to realise that the vibrant economic capital of the UK will no longer be part of the European Union. Although the consequences of the ‘Brexit’ referendum have not yet been legally determined, some high-ranking executives at major financial institutions and multi-nationals in London are exploring if and how to relocate employees, looking at cities that remain in the European Union. In a recently published article, The New York Times explored potential alternatives to this financial capital, based on different criteria.
The New York Times considered: English-language facility, a favourable regulatory environment, excellent transportation and communications infrastructure, availability of prime office space and luxury housing, good schools, good restaurants and cultural offerings. Numerous European cities were scored by means of these criteria, and some high-scoring cities were Paris, Vienna and Dublin.
However, Amsterdam came out on top as a potential new European economic centre, thanks to its highly ranked schools in Europe, plenty of English-language options, beautiful architecture and housing options, an excellent rail network connecting major European capitals (including London) and thanks to the fact that Amsterdam is already a centre of international commerce and a major global trading centre.
On 1 June 2013, the Dutch Modern Migration Policy Law was implemented. Thanks to this law, there is the possibility for companies in the Netherlands to apply for the ‘Accredited Sponsorship’ status, which allows these companies to apply for a combined work and residence permit via the simplified procedure of the knowledge Migrant ( KM ) scheme.
The accredited sponsorship status can be seen as a relationship of trust between the Dutch immigration authorities ( IND ) and the accredited company, where the company can enjoy different benefits, such as the easier and simplified immigration procedure for their foreign employees, in exchange for the fulfilment of associated obligations.
The employees of these accredited sponsors will be eligible for the knowledge migrant permit if they meet the KM salary threshold and if an employment agreement or an assignment letter in place. Currently, the salary threshold is EUR 4240 monthly for knowledge migrants with an age of 30 years and above, and EUR 3108 monthly for knowledge migrants, younger than 30 years. If these requirements are met, an application can be filed and no other documents, such as a degree or resume, will need to be submitted. Also, government processing times are rather short, with applications often approved within two to four weeks from date of filing.
Taking into account the possibility that some employees may relocate from London to Amsterdam, we believe that the Knowledge Migrant Scheme will be an efficient immigration route for moving a large number of foreign employees from London to Amsterdam within a short amount of time.
Once the Knowledge Migrant permit has been approved, the in-country formalities and requirements have been simplified as well, in order to attract and accommodate any new expats arriving in Amsterdam.
The Expatcenter is a cooperative effort between the IND and certain municipalities in the Amsterdam area, where the newly arrived employees can combine the collection of the Dutch residence card and registration with the Dutch municipality at one appointment. Normally, expats must visit an IND office and the town hall to complete these in-country formalities, but thanks to the Expatcenter this can be arranged at one appointment, which is definitely less time to consume.
For these and numerous reasons, we can only conclude that, whatever might be the outcome of the current negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom, Amsterdam is ready and prepared.