The conditions that must be met to get a residence permit for a family member (partner, children) have been relaxed. This is the result of the European directive on family reunification (2003/86), which regulates in which cases a member state may grant or deny a residence permit. This Directive has already led to the adaptation of requirements imposed by the Netherlands, including the easing/lowering of income requirements, integration requirements and fees (see the article published by Mr Scheers on this subject).

Objecting to incorrect information

Last week, the Council of State added as the highest Dutch Court to the list of easing, that the IND may not refuse an application when in a previous procedure incorrect information was provided. The IND also refused applications if the concerned party had provided incorrect information in a previous procedure within the past 5 years. This meant, that if an application for a residence permit was rejected based on false information, the applicant must wait 5 years before re-applying. According to the Council of State, this is contrary to the Family reunification Directive 2003/86 and is not allowed. An application may only be rejected if the information in the new procedure is incorrect. Furthermore, the balance of interests should also in that situation be weighed.

Sustainable income

As the result of another decision by the Council of State, the IND has recently relaxed the so-called “flex-test”. This test determines the income requirements of flex workers or employees with employment contracts for shorter than 1 year. Normally, the income for a family member residing in the Netherlands should be available for a minimum of 1 year. If that’s not the case, it was previously tested whether the income acquired over a period of 3 years was sufficiently high and still available. Last year, the Council of State had already ruled that the 3 year period was too long and it is now adjusted to 1 year. Additionally, the income must be available for a period of at least 6 months, at the time of the application. Furthermore, there is a promise to be easier on Dutch expats who return to the Netherlands with their foreign partners and don’t yet have an annual employment contract.

For more information as to how these facilitations can apply to your specific situation or other information regarding residence permits, please contact Scheers Advocatuur.