The Netherlands: post-pandemic and beyond

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Thomas van Houwelingen
Everaert Advocaten, Amsterdam
vanhouwelingen@everaert.nl

Hermie de Voer
Everaert Advocaten, Amsterdam
devoer@everaert.nl

Travel restrictions

The most significant changes in the Netherlands are the result of travel restrictions recommended by the European Commission. In general, only Dutch or European citizens and their families, permit holders and essential workers are admitted. The Netherlands has implemented these recommendations relatively strictly but did create local exceptions such as special arrangements for short visits of non-European Union nationals in a long-distance relationship and for short-term business travellers that represent a Dutch economic interest.

Working remotely is here to stay

Obviously, the travel restrictions had significant impact on immigration, but did also lead to a more flexible approach towards remote working, not only for those working in the Netherlands but also for workers that would normally enter the Netherlands on a business visa or on a short-term work visa. It is possible that this development will become permanent, as companies appear to realise that not all the work needs to be done in person and on location.

After all, travelling to the Netherlands is not always a necessity to work effectively. It may even be argued that this would be the preferable choice for the future when it comes to mitigating carbon emissions, for example. Our guess is that immigration will become more associated with longer stays rather than short stays, especially with all the quarantine and testing measures in mind, through which short term travellers would have to go twice.

Flexibility

Aside from the above, the pandemic has often been called an ‘X-ray’ of society. It has shown us the vulnerabilities: flexible workers, health care workers (especially nurses), parcel deliverers, freelancers, artists etc.

Paradoxically, perhaps in the light of flexibilisation in remote working, employee protection will become stricter, making the market less flexible. This will make it harder to let people go and the new government will stimulate issuance of more fixed employment contracts rather than working with flexible freelancers or short-term so called ‘zero-hour’ contracts. That will likely also have an impact on employment-based immigration. 

Vaccinations

Vaccinations and passports evidencing immunity will become important for travelling through Europe. The EU is currently working on creating (digital) so-called ‘vaccination passports’ allowing travellers to move within the EU without restrictions. Furthermore, we would expect that travellers without vaccination would still be admitted provided they quarantine themselves and/or show a negative PCR test result. The same will most probably go for travellers from outside the EU.

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