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Obtaining a residence permit for Japanese citizens in the Netherlands has become much easier

It has become much easier for Japanese citizens to obtain a residence permit for the Netherlands. Obtaining a work permit is no longer necessary.

On 19 June 2013 the highest administrative court of the Netherlands, the Afdeling bestuursrechtspraak van de Raad van State (the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State), held that Japanese citizens must be treated equally to Swiss citizens when it comes to immigration matters. The Council of State made this decision on the basis of the 1912 Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between the Netherlands and Japan on the one hand, and the Treaty of Friendship, Establishment and Commerce between the Netherlands and Switzerland (1875) on the other.

The case was brought forward by mr S.J. van der Woude of our firm on behalf of a Japanese client.

As a result, all Japanese citizens with a valid passport and sufficient means to support themselves can now successfully apply for a residence permit in the Netherlands. The Council of State also heldt that the origins of the means of support are irrelevant, as long as the applicant has sufficient means for not having to rely on publicly funded social security. For example, a private scholarship, or a fixed pension of any kind will most certainly do, provided the amount is higher than the social minimum level (as of 1 January 2015 this is € 1622 bruto per month for couples and just € 1136 for singles). Having enough money on the bank to live on for considerable time will most likely be regarded as sufficient as well.

Additionally, in an even more recent judgment of 24 December 2014 the Council of State ruled that Japanese citizens, like the Swiss, do not need a work permit to work in the Netherlands. The decision includes all employed labour.

The full text (in Dutch) of the judgement of 24 December 2014 (ECLI:NL:RVS:2014:4701 ) can be found here.The full text (in Dutch) of the judgment of 19 June 2013 (ECLI:NL:RVS:2013:32) can be found here.

If you have any questions on the subject please contact mr Simon van der Woude at: vanderwoude@woudegraaf.nl.


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