Intra-Corporate Transfers (ICT)


Intra-Corporate Transfers (ICT)

Per 29 November 2016, companies based outside the EU can apply for an Intra-Corporate Transfer permit (ICT permit) for employees who are temporarily posted to a group entity within the EU. The Dutch regulations are based on Directive 2014/66/EU (the ICT-Directive) and apply to transfers of managers, specialists or trainees.

What does the Intra-Corporate Transfer system look like?

The Intra-Corporate Transfer regulations provide companies with more flexibility with respect to intra-EU mobility. Other features of the system include:

  • The ICT-regulations apply to intra-corporate transfers of employees who remain employed by the non-EU entity and have an employment history with said entity of at least three months before starting the assignment in the Netherlands;
  • The ICT-permit has a maximum validity of three years and cannot be extended after this period;
  • The employee and its family members are exempted from the civic integration exam and family members have work authorization;
  • The salary of the employee should be in conformity with the market. There are no fixed salary standards, but the existing salary thresholds for Highly Skilled Migrants will be used as indicator;
  • A cooling-off period of six months applies to transferees who require a consecutive posting to the Netherlands as an Intra-Company Transferee;
  • The ICT-permit has a temporary nature, which means that accrued years of residency on the basis of an ICT-permit do not qualify as years for a permanent EU residence permit.

Highly Skilled Migrant permit versus ICT permit

It is not possible to apply for a Highly Skilled Migrant permit (HSM permit) when the application falls within the scope of the ICT Directive: there is no element of choice here. The applicant whose situation falls within the scope of the ICT Directive will either receive an ICT permit if all conditions are met, or the application will be rejected all together.

Both types of permits have their advantages and disadvantages. The ICT permit makes it easier to transfer an employee within the EU, but it cannot be extended after three years. The HSM permit does not provide its holder with EU mobility rights, but it can be extended after three years and its holder can build up rights in the Netherlands.

Postings of employees who are placed on a local Dutch employment contract do not fall under the scope of the ICT Directive and therefore may still qualify for a Highly Skilled Migrant permit.

Transitional arrangement

Applications for Highly Skilled Migrant permits filed before 29 November 2016 will be handled as per the most favourable rules (HSM or ICT). Where appropriate the Dutch Immigration Services will contact applicants in order to liaise about what is most favourable in the specific situation. We advise you to pro-actively contact the Dutch Immigration Authorities to state your preference.

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