On 1 January 2018, the IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service) office in the Netherlands announced that it would be increasing the number of visits to sponsoring employers this year to ensure that recognized sponsors are in line with the Modern Migration Policy. These checks may result in fines up to € 3.000 per infraction committed per foreign national. Therefore, it is crucial for sponsors to know their responsibilities and how to prepare for a visit from the IND.
When a company is accepted as a recognized sponsor, they take on the responsibility of being a partner of the IND and as a sponsor highly skilled (or knowledge) migrants they can take advantage of perks such as:
- Providing less evidence when submitting an application for an HSM, because the recognized sponsor may replace this by means of own declarations as a reliable partner of the IND
- Expedited applications as often as possible to a waiting period of 2 weeks instead of the official decision period of 3 months
Even though you may be able to submit an application for a residence permit with less evidence than is usually required, the IND office has a right to ask for these documents at any time, so your organization has an obligation to acquire these regardless.
Additionally, a recognized sponsor has three required duties:
- Information obligation
- Administration duty
- Duty of Care
Information obligation means that any change in the situation of the foreign national who is sponsored by the organization that may affect the residence permit must be reported to the IND. Situations that would require a notice to the IND office are:
- The foreign national no longer lives in the Netherlands and this change has not been reported in time to the foreign national’s municipality
- The foreign national no longer wants to come to the Netherlands
- The foreign national is no longer working for their recognized sponsor
- The sponsorship has been withdrawn
- The salary of the foreign national no longer meets the salary criterion applicable to him/her
Administration of duty applies to the responsibility of the sponsor to keep all relevant information regarding its official sponsorship and the foreign nationals that it employs, up to 5 years after they are no longer a recognized sponsor for the foreign national. This information may include:
- A copy of the valid residence permit (front and back) per foreign national
- A copy of the employment contract, additional agreements, and changes
- A copy of the page with personal details from the valid passport of the foreign national
- A copy of all salary slips and proof of payment that the salary has actually been paid
- A copy of documents showing how, as a recognized sponsor, you have complied with the obligation to provide information and the duty of care
- The decision in which the recognized sponsorship is granted to you as an authorized sponsor
- The notification from the IND in which it states that it intends to issue a residence permit or does not object to the issue of a provisional residence permit
- The correct address where the foreign national resides
Duty of care encompasses the obligation of the sponsor to “care” for the well-being of the foreign national. This means informing them of their rights and obligations as a resident of the Netherlands. Additionally, the sponsor must prove that the foreign national they are hiring is suitable for the job and that they can adapt to Dutch culture.
How to prepare for a possible visit
- Make sure you have the correct information regarding every single foreign national you employ. The old rule of thumb for this was that it was better to have too much information rather than too little but due to GDPR’s strict guidelines, you must have a valid reason for obtaining and using an employee’s information.
- Files need to be organized and handy. If chosen for inspection, the IND office will give you two weeks to send the information requested to the authorities. Although this seems like plenty of time, if you have a large number of foreign nationals and an out of date filing system, this may prove to be difficult to gather.
- Files also need to be up to date. Setting reminders for updating addresses, residence cards, and salary requirements for each foreign national will help keep your files up to date and not leave you scrambling to do so if they request information.
- Ensuring that the foreign national knows and understands their rights and obligations. When sending out the brochure detailing this information for the foreign national, it is helpful to set up a way for them to respond they have received, read and understood and to also add a read receipt to the email to be kept for proof of such.
The IND office is fully prepared to revoke any recognition as a sponsor for those that do not comply with their requests for information so treat these visits with the utmost importance and vigilance.
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