In a move that signals a significant shift in its immigration policy, the Netherlands has announced the impending termination of its golden visa scheme, effective January 1, 2024. The program, which was originally designed to attract wealthy foreign nationals to invest in the Dutch economy in exchange for a residence permit, “will no longer be available from January 1, 2024”, according to a statement from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service in the Netherlands (NLS), reported by SchengenVisaInfo.
The golden visa program was first introduced in the Netherlands in 2013 as part of the country’s efforts to stimulate economic growth. However, its initial years saw low uptake, leading to revisions in 2018 to make it more appealing to potential investors.
Under the program, international visitors seeking residency in the Netherlands are required to make a substantial contribution of at least EUR 1,250,000 to the country’s economy, among other criteria. These requirements include holding a valid passport or travel document, not posing a risk to public order or national security and undergoing a tuberculosis test upon arrival in the Netherlands.
Moreover, applicants are expected to invest the minimum amount of €1,250,000 in a Dutch-based company or a fund in line with the SEED scheme, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, a venture company, or a contractual joint venture with investment in a Dutch company.
The Dutch authorities implemented a points system to evaluate applications, offering additional points if applicants meet two of the following three criteria: the creation of at least ten jobs within five years; contributing to the innovativeness of a Dutch company; and providing non-financial value such as specific knowledge, client networks and active involvement.
One crucial aspect is that the invested capital must be earned through lawful means, with authorities reserving the right to request proof of the legitimacy of the funds. Additionally, applicants are required to have no history of illegal entry into the country or any instances of providing incorrect or withheld information in prior residence permit applications.
As the European Union vowed to tighten its stance on residency-by-investment programs, fervent appeals from diverse political quarters for their abolition have gained momentum. Yet, despite these efforts, obtaining golden visas doesn’t seem to have become more challenging. While the Dutch program is set to end, the allure of these programs persists, proving to be a complex economic and geopolitical issue that defies easy solutions, with other nations, including Spain, Portugal and Greece, continuing as popular destinations for international investors seeking residency and citizenship opportunities.