July 10, 2024

Key changes to EU Blue Card immigration in the Netherlands


The Dutch authorities have recently implemented the revised elements of the EU Blue Card Directive leading to some changes in the Netherlands. Main changes include a minimum employment contract term of 6 months and a maximum validity of the EU Blue card issuance of 5 years.


What has changed?

In 2021 the European Union issued a directive to update the EU Blue Card scheme. In November 2023, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) amended the rules for the Dutch EU Blue Card Permit to reflect the revisions made by the EU Blue Card directive.

Changes include:

  • Expansion of the eligibility of applicants with professional experience who may not hold the required educational qualifications for certain professions such as IT and communication managers, and applicants with at least 3 years’ experience in the previous 7 years prior to their application. Previously only applicants with proof of higher education were eligible.
  • Reduction of the employment contract requirement from minimum 12 months down to 6 months.
  • Relaxation of the long-term mobility pathways enabling EU Blue Card holders from another EU member state who have resided there for at least 12 months, to enter the Netherlands and work for longer than 90 days without requiring a separate visa (reduced from 18 months)
  • Removal of labour market testing for long term residents in the EU who have held an EU Blue card and applied for residence in the Netherlands.
  • Reduced processing times to 30 days from 90 days for the following EU Blue Card applications: recognised sponsor applications, long-term mobility applications and family member applications.

Who is affected?

Foreign national applicants looking to obtain the EU Blue Card for work and residency purposes in the Netherlands and holders of EU Blue Cards from other EU member states.

What to expect /impact?

Further changes may be implemented in 2024 when the Netherlands formally implement the revied EU Blue Card directive. Following the establishment of the new coalition government, other immigration changes may also be due in the near future.

What you need to do

For further information on immigration for the Netherlands, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team at immigration@sterlinglexicon.com


Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over fifteen years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends, and currently serves as a member of the Worldwide ERC (WERC) Immigration Advisory Council.

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