IND sparks Brexit scare with 'EU residence permit will expire' statement

Dozens of worried British nationals have been contacting lawyers and community websites since the Dutch immigration service IND updated its Brexit information to state that their European permanent residency permits will expire on March 29, when Brexit comes into effect. The IND website outlines the options which British nationals can take to regulate their post-Brexit stay.  One option is to apply for the residence permit for EU nationals, which costs €51 and does not require integration exams. However, the website continues: 'keep in mind that the validity of an EU permanent residence document will expire permanently for you on 29 March 2019. After all, on that day British citizens are no longer EU citizens.' News that the EU permanent residency permit will be invalid after Brexit has suprised British nationals who are currently trying to regulate their stay. However, immigration lawyer Jeremy Bierbach, of Franssen Advocaten, told that the IND is being extremely irresponsible to state that EU permanent residence documents will no longer be valid after Brexit. In addition, he says that British nationals in the Netherlands will still be protected by European law. 'The IND is an administrative agency and has no authority to interpret EU law,' Bierbach said. The question of whether EU residency documents will expire after March 29 is 'purely a question for the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg,' he said. 45,000 adults Some 45,000 adult British people live in the Netherlands and will need to have some form of permit to remain in the country after March 29 2019. As EU citizens, they do not need any form of residency permit. Last month's Brexit survey showed that almost four in 10 British people living in the Netherlands have done nothing yet to regulate their stay post Brexit. Of those that had taken action, almost one in four had applied for a European residents permit and just a handful had gone down the more difficult route to get a regular residents' permit. Irregular has asked the IND and the justice ministry to comment on the accuracy of the website text. On Wednesday the Guardian reported that both France and Germany were looking at what the status of British nationals living there would be after a no-deal Brexit. France says these would include Britons needing visas to visit and UK nationals resident in the country being in an 'irregular' legal situation. Note: The IND updated its website on Thursday to clarify the situation slightly. It now states that in the event of a deal, the EU permanent residency permit will be be exchanged free of charge for another type of permit. In event of no deal, 'it is still unclear what you can do', the website states. In both cases, however, the EU residency permit will expire, the IND says.   More >

Firms fear rise in post-Brexit red tape

While 80% of Dutch firms expect Brexit to have an impact, half of them have no idea what to expect and have taken no action to deal with it, according to new research by the Dutch chambers of trade KvK. 'It would appear that companies are taking a 'wait and see' stance because of all the uncertainties,' chairwoman Claudia Zuiderwijk said. 'But whether there is a deal or no deal, doing business with Britain is going to change considerably.' One third of the company bosses polled said they expected that Brexit would damage their business prospects and seven in 10 are worried about increasing red tape. Other issues that concern people are levies and taxes (54%), import duties (51%), future differences in laws and regulations (51%), and delays at the border (49%), the survey showed. Last month, research by the foreign affairs ministry suggested just one in five Dutch firms which do business with Britain were ready for Brexit. Some 77,000 companies in the Netherlands do business with the UK, particularly those involved in the chemicals and food sectors. Earlier this year, the national statistics agency CBS said trade with the UK would appear to be stagnating because of Brexit. Research by last month also showed that 40% of British nationals living in the Netherlands had done nothing to regulate their post Brexit stay.  More >

Dutch PM 'cautiously optimistic' on Brexit

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said on Wednesday evening he is 'cautiously optimistic' that progress will be made next week on the negotiations for Britain to leave the EU. 'I think that next week we can be very cautiously optimistic that we will make progress,' Rutte said at a joint press conference with German chancellor Angela Merkel.  'An awful lot depends on the talks in the coming days.' Many of the problems are now being solved on a step by step basis 'but there are, of course' several big issues which we really need to get to grips with,' the prime minister said. These include the future relationship between Britain and the single market, including the Irish border, Rutte said. Merkel, who was in the Netherlands for talks with Rutte ahead of next week's meeting, said that she is pleased intensive discussions are now taking place. 'There would appear to be progress, but sometimes the devil is in the details,' she said.  More >