Word of partners – Nihat Kurt – How Covid-19 still impacts (corporate) mobility

How Covid-19 still impacts (corporate) mobility

Summer is over now, with high temperatures in this part of the world, there was no need to travel far to catch the sun. Coming back to reality and working from home, the global coronavirus pandemic is obviously still affecting all of our families, our businesses, our communities, and our way of life.
Beyond the panic and anxiety, disruption from travel bans and work from home mandates and a big recession (!) it looks like our society will be impacted for a while.

In the midst of this global situation, most enterprises, communities and people are adopting a “new normal.” Contrary to other countries which are still in major lockdown and where immigration services have shut down completely, overall the Dutch immigration authorities do their work ‘as usual’ with some adaptions and changes but as it almost seems more efficient and quicker than prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

One may wonder why this is the case and a very plausible conclusion is that as the officials all work from home without many personal meetings and coffee breaks with colleagues, applications are processed quicker. Especially when it comes to corporate immigration, the Netherlands was quick to make exceptions to certain immigration categories to allow foreign nationals to enter even if they came from countries flagged as orange where the rate of infections with the virus and deaths were high and a travel ban to the Netherlands/Europe applies.

At this moment, exemptions have been made in the travel restrictions for highly skilled employees, including researchers, students and their accompanying family members. With the highly skilled migration coming to a near-full stop earlier this year, this positive news has led companies in need of international talent to start recruiting or assigning staff from outside the EU again. Therefore, highly skilled immigrants have found their way again into the EU.

In addition, the Netherlands has allowed foreign partners of EU or Dutch nationals, to visit their partner in the Netherlands for a maximum of 90 days within a 180 day frame provided they can prove that they have an exclusive and genuine relationship for at least 3 months. Exclusive should be easy to proof, but what is genuine?!

More and more normal immigration services are available again such as obtaining a residence endorsement sticker or a return visa in case of travels. Also, some procedures have been changed as the Dutch immigration authorities started a pilot in sending residence permit cards for renewal applications to the home addresses of the applicants to limit physical contact. Before, it was absolutely necessary that the foreign national would collect the original newly issued residence permit in person for identification purposes.

What is noticeable is that many companies are recruiting highly Skilled Migrants from either the Netherlands that are in possession of a valid legal status already or from within Europe as this currently a more safer option that a start date will be met for someone hired from abroad and brings along less insecurities.

After all, the Netherlands remains a safe and innovative country for many foreign nationals who wish to relocate here especially in view of devastating economic implications the pandemic has caused in many of their home countries. In addition, the way the Dutch government handles the pandemic is less rigid, based on self-control and responsibility without taking away the general freedom of people to live their daily lives. In other European countries such as Spain, Italy and France where the confinement measures were very rigid and impacted the personal freedom of many for the sake of health, the side-effects were people finding themselves in extremely difficult economic situations and also led to daily conflicts and protests against the measures taken by the governments to contain the virus.

Let’s hope for the best that a second wave of corona will not become a reality and that the measures taken by the Dutch government will help to reduce the spread of the virus. It remains an effort by everyone to adhere to the rules, to act in a responsible and solidary manner to protect especially the elderly and people with a higher risk to get infected.

We’re called upon to be our best selves, with patience and understanding. On behalf of all of us at Expat Management Group, we’re committed to being your partner and persevering together in all the days and years ahead.

Keep safe!

Nihat Kurt, Partner with Expat Management Group
Lecturer Expatise Academy and Erasmus University Rotterdam

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