The Treaty of Amity and Commerce between Japan and The Netherlands offers Japanese nationals
preferential treatment for those who wish to become a resident, reunite a family, take up
employment or establish a business in The Netherlands. The Dutch court ruling of December 24,
2014, regarding “Shofukan,” determined that Japanese citizens are allowed full access to the
Dutch labor market. In that case, the Dutch courts ruled that Japanese citizens must be treated
legally the same as Swiss nationals, according to a treaty with Switzerland of 1875.
Since Swiss nationals have full access to the Dutch labor market, Japanese citizens also
qualified for full access to the Dutch labor market. In other words, a work permit is not
required and they need not comply with the Highly Skilled Migrant Worker salary thresholds to be
able to work as an employee in The Netherlands.
Court Case of November 11, 2016
The Dutch courts determined that Japanese citizens must no longer be governed like Swiss
nationals since the 1875 treaty with Switzerland has been invalidated by a later agreement
between the EU and Switzerland making it no longer relevant. Therefore, Dutch law returns the
status before the “Shofukan ruling,” which determines that Japanese citizens be governed like
American nationals, according to the Dutch-American Friendship Treaty. Therefore, it can be
relatively easy to obtain a self-employed residency permit, but Japanese citizens are no longer
exempted from the work permit requirement as of January 1, 2017.
7. Consequences as from January 1, 2017
Employment: If you are a Japanese citizen, taking up employment in The
employer must apply for a work permit on your behalf, or your employer must pay the minimum
salary threshold for Highly Skilled Migrant Workers.
Self-employment: If you are a Japanese citizen wishing to establish a business
Netherlands, you will be allowed to work only as a freelancer or entrepreneur.
Family member employment: If you are a Japanese citizen, taking up employment
or establishing a
business in The Netherlands, and your family accompanies you, your family will no longer be
allowed full access to the Dutch labor market.
Existing employment permits: If you currently hold a residence permit for
self-employment in The Netherlands with full access to the Dutch labor market, when your
residency permit is extended, the IND will limit your access to the Dutch labor market.