EIG Dispatch | July 22, 2016


  • Belgium Extends Processing Time for Family Reunification Applications
  • Luxembourg Increases Minimum Salary for EU Blue Card Holders
  • Malaysia Implements New Work Authorization Visas
  • Update: Work Permit Requirements for Japanese Nationals in the Netherlands

Belgium Extends Processing Time for Family Reunification Applications

Effective immediately, the current processing time of family reunification applications filed by third country national family members has increased from 12 months to 15 months.  Initially, applications were being processed in 6 months plus an additional 3 – 6 month extension for difficult files.  With the extension, the initial processing time will now be 9 months plus an additional 3-6 month extension for difficult files.

This means that family members of third country nationals who wish to file their applications at a Belgian diplomatic post or in Belgium without the principle visa holders’ application will have to wait nine months for a decision.  This will affect the family members’ ability to travel while the applications remain pending.

The new processing times apply to applications filed on July 9, 2016 as well as applications that are currently pending.  These new processing times should not affect applications submitted by family members of individuals who hold work permits as these applications are normally prioritized.

Luxembourg Increases Minimum Salary for EU Blue Card Holders

Luxembourg once again raises their minimum salary requirement for European Union (EU) Blue Card holders. Effective immediately, EU Blue Card holders must now be paid a minimum of €73,296, an increase from €71,946.  However, EU Blue Card holders working in job shortage occupations in group 1 or group 2 of the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO) must have a minimum salary fixed at €58,636.80 (increased from €57,556.80).  Computer and Information System occupations that qualify as shortage occupations include, but are not limited to: systems analysts, web and multimedia developers, applications programmers, software and applications developers, systems administrators, database designers/administrators, and computer network professionals.

The EU Blue Card is meant to attract highly skilled non-EU nationals to work in the European Union by providing work authorization and residency permits. The EU Blue Card is not limited to specific employers or countries. EU Blue Card holders are eligible to apply for permanent residency after two to five years, depending on the country of residence, if employment accumulates. The main criteria to be eligible for an EU Blue Card are that the applicant: 1) must be a non EU citizen; and 2) must have advanced qualifications or substantial experience in his or her field. For further information please visit the EU Blue Card website.

Malaysia Implements New Work Authorization Visas

Effective August 1, 2016, the Immigration Department of Malaysia will require foreign national workers, with an intent to work in Malaysia, to have their Approval Letter prior to entering the country. Both the Employment Pass and Professional Visit Pass visas are subject to this change. This requirement is due to efforts to eliminate the Journey Performed Visa applications, which Malaysian authorities believe are providing ways for undocumented aliens, workers, and foreign nationals to enter Malaysia. Currently, the Journey Performed Visa applications allow for foreign nationals to enter Malaysia on a visitor’s visa prior to obtaining work permit approval. Once the foreign national obtains the work permit approval they are able to have the visa issued in their passport by simply paying an additional fee.

Update: Work Place Requirements for Japanese Nationals in the Netherlands

The Dutch Foreign Ministry announced on June 2016 that the work permit exemption would no longer apply to Japanese Nationals living in the Netherlands. As an update to our July 8, 2016 article, the Immigration and Naturalisation Department (IND) has postponed the date of implementation from October 1, 2016 to January 1, 2017.

Since December 2014, Japanese citizens working in the Netherlands were exempt from work permit requirements.  This was due to a judgment by the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State. The judgment resulting from the court’s correlation between the Dutch-Swiss Friendship treaty and Dutch-Japanese Trade treaty, promoted the idea that Japanese citizens should be treated as Dutch citizens and have unlimited access to the Dutch labor market.  For the past two years, Japanese citizens who planned on living and working in the Netherlands for 90 days or more were only required to receive a Dutch residence permit.

In June of 2016, the Dutch Foreign Ministry decided that Japanese citizens were no longer exempt under the treaty and starting January 1, 2017, Japanese citizens will need to obtain a work permit if beginning work in the Netherlands on or after January 1, 2017.  For those Japanese citizens who currently hold valid residence permits, they can continue working until these permits expire.  After the residence permit expires, they will need to obtain a work permit to continue working in the Netherlands.

The Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State will still be able to adjudicate the Dutch Foreign Ministry’s interpretation of the treaty and if the Council of State does not agree with the Ministry’s interpretation, the decision to eliminate the exemption may be re-examined.