In August 2016, the district court of Amsterdam handed down a decision ordering the IND (the Dutch immigration authority) to issue a new residence permit card to a non-EU citizen that expressly notes that she is allowed to work in self-employment; she lives in the Netherlands as the spouse of an entrepreneur who, like her, is a non-EU citizen.
The IND, acting on behalf of the responsible minister in the Dutch government, subsequently filed a higher appeal against the district court’s decision. The IND claimed that although EU law does provide that such a person should have the same right to work in the Netherlands as the person they are dependent on, and thus has the right to work in self-employment, the IND should not have to issue a new residence permit card expressly saying so.
Franssen Advocaten filed a brief defending the court’s decision. The defense noted, among other things, that if an immigrant has the right to work in self-employment, she has the right to have a document that clearly says so, in order to avoid the consequence of potential customers being afraid to do business with her.
On 31 March, the Council of State, acting as the highest court in the area of Dutch immigration law, rejected the IND’s higher appeal, thus establishing the district court judgment as a clear precedent binding on the IND. It is to be expected that the IND will have to change its policy, to issue partners of holders of residence permits as entrepreneurs residence permit cards with the clear endorsement Arbeid als zelfstandige toegestaan. Coincidentally, this comes at the same time as a separate policy change announced by the IND expanding some immigrants’ rights to work in self-employment.