Rich foreigners are to be offered temporary residency permits if they agree to invest at least €1.25m in Dutch companies.
Junior justice minister Fred Teeven hopes the measure will provide an impulse for the Dutch economy, news agency ANP reported. The scheme will come into effect on October 1 and the permits will be valid for one year.
The economic affairs ministry will judge applications to see if they contain added value, such as generating jobs, before deciding if they should be accepted.
Officials will also look in detail at where the money comes from to prevent the ruling being used to launder money. Applicants will also be subjected to personal checks to ensure they are not a threat to public order.
Teeven expects several hundred requests, ANP said. Canada, the US, Australia, Britain, France and Ireland operate similar schemes.
Opposition MPs slammed the government’s decision to offer temporary residency permits to rich foreigners as bitter and discriminatory.
‘Someone who flees Somalia who is poor may well have to go back. But if you are rich from that same country you will be welcome. That is going too far,’ Socialist Party MP Sharon Gesthuizen said.
The Netherlands already requires immigrants who want to bring a partner to the Netherlands to earn at least 120% of the minimum wage.
Prime minister Mark Rutte dismissed the criticism at his weekly press conference. ‘If you have lots of money and you want to invest it, we are saying ‘come here’,’ he said. ‘We are talking about a completely different group [to refugees].’