Enforcement

The IND checks if the sponsor and foreign national comply with the rules. When the sponsor or foreign national does not comply with the legal obligations, the IND may impose sanctions (disciplinary action). This page explains how the IND proceeds with enforcement and which sanctions the IND may impose.

The IND may, at any time, check whether a (recognised) sponsor or foreign national is complying with the rules. The IND has various ways of doing this:

  • The IND requests information from the sponsor or foreign national.
  • The IND performs an audit of the records on location.
  • The IND requests information from other (government) agencies, like the Inspectorate SZW or the Chamber of Commerce.
  • The IND investigates information or signals from third parties.

When the recognised sponsor or foreign national fails to comply with the legal obligations, the IND may impose various sanctions:

  • A warning and an administrative penalty.
  • Suspension of the recognition as sponsor.
  • Withdrawal of the recognition as sponsor.
  • Withdrawal of the residence permit.
  • Recovery of the costs for the foreign national's removal.

A warning and an administrative penalty

The IND issues a warning the first time an obligation is violated. A warning constitutes a written notice in your file with the IND. A warning is valid for 24 months. The warning is removed from your file after this period. A warning is issued to the sponsor or foreign national. The IND may impose an administrative penalty if you are in violation of the same obligation within 24 months. The IND can also proceed with an administrative penalty straightaway if the violation is serious.

The administrative penalty is imposed on the sponsor. However, in a few situations, the administrative penalty is imposed on the foreign national:

  • The foreign national has no sponsor and is, therefore, the one in violation of a legal obligation.
  • It is plausible that the foreign national was aware of the fact that the sponsor was no longer meeting his obligations as a sponsor. In this case, the IND will inform the foreign national. The foreign national receives 2 weeks to check the details and update them if required. If not, he or she will be issued an administrative penalty.

The IND can impose an administrative penalty up to 5 years after the violation of a legal obligation.

How does the IND impose an administrative penalty?

If a sponsor or foreign national has violated a legal obligation, the IND will draw up a report of the violation. The report will state who committed the violation, the nature of the violation, and which obligation was violated, amongst other things.

The fine report may also include several violations. If the IND ascertains several violations at the same time, the appropriate sanction (disciplinary action) will be determined per case. The IND may:

  • Issue a warning.
  • 1 impose an administrative penalty.
  • 1 impose an administrative penalty in which the penalty amount multiplies based on the number of violations.
  • Impose multiple administrative penalties.

The IND sends the report to the sponsor or foreign national, stating its intention of imposing an administrative penalty. The sponsor or foreign national is given the chance to respond to the intended decision. For example, because you do not agree with the administrative penalty. However, you are not obliged to provide a statement regarding the violation. Respond within the deadline indicated in the intended decision. The IND will decide whether an administrative penalty will be imposed, within 13 weeks after the fine report was drawn up. If you responded to the intended decision, the decision will state why the penalty amount was changed or why it stayed the same.

You may object to the administrative penalty. The administrative penalty decision will explain how to object and will indicate the period in which you can object. The objection does not have a suspensive effect. This means that you must still pay the penalty within the indicated period. What if the penalty amount changes based on the objection? Naturally, any amounts paid in excess will be refunded.

An administrative penalty must be paid within 6 weeks of the date on which the IND imposed the administrative penalty.

Administrative penalty amount

An administrative penalty is imposed per violation. The penalty amounts to a maximum of €3,000, per violation, for legal entities, companies and other organisations, and a maximum of
€1,500, per violation, for natural persons.

There is no ceiling amount for the overall penalty imposed. For example, a sponsor has violated the duty to keep records for 5 foreign nationals and the obligation to provide information for 1 foreign national. The IND may impose an administrative penalty amounting to 6 times the maximum penalty amount.

When determining the penalty amount, the IND will take into account the seriousness of the violation, the extent of the culpability and the circumstances under which the violation was committed.

The seriousness of the violation is the first to be scrutinised. The maximum penalty amount is imposed for a serious violation. These violations are considered serious:

  • Violation of the duty of care.
  • Violation of the obligation to provide information, leading to a withdrawal of the residence permit or the recognition as a sponsor.

When the violation is less serious, the penalty is lowered to 50% of the maximum penalty amount. These violations are considered less serious:

  • Violation of the obligation to provide information, committed by a non-recognised sponsor, if the information that should have been reported does not result in withdrawal of the residence permit.
  • Violation of the duty to keep records, committed by a non-recognised sponsor or foreign national.

The IND then assesses the extent of culpability of the violation. This is interconnected with the circumstances under which the violation was committed. The IND will not impose an administrative penalty if the violation cannot be blamed on the sponsor or foreign national.

The IND will lower the penalty amount by (another) 50% for low culpability. In other words, this reduction is calculated on the remaining penalty amount once the seriousness of the violation has also been taken into account. Culpability is low in the following situations:

  • The violation is the result of another unavoidable action.
  • The sponsor has made it plausible that the violation is the result of coercive force from a third party.

If the IND encounters the same violation within a period of 24 months, after an administrative penalty has been imposed, it can increase the administrative penalty by 50%.

Example:
A natural person committed a less serious violation. Culpability is also low. The IND will impose a fine amounting to €375. This amount is calculated as follows:
The maximum administrative penalty of €1,500, first lowered by 50% because it involves a less serious violation. The remaining amount is €750. This amount is once again lowered by 50%, because of low culpability. The remaining penalty amount is €375.

Suspension of the recognition

The IND can suspend the sponsor's recognition when it has good cause to suspect that the recognised sponsor does not (or no longer) meets the conditions for recognition. The IND or another government agency will then investigate the sponsor. The suspension of the recognition is for 3 months, but can be extended by 3 months each time, throughout the on-going investigation. The recognition may be suspended for 1 or more residence purposes.

The recognised sponsor may not make use of its recognition during the suspension period. In other words, during this period you cannot start applications that require recognition as a condition for entry. The sponsor's listing is also immediately removed from the Public Register of Recognised Sponsors.

Withdrawal of the recognition

The IND may withdraw the recognition in one or more of the following cases:

  • The recognition was granted on incorrect or incomplete grounds.
  • The recognised sponsor no longer meets the conditions for recognition.
  • The recognised sponsor has failed to meet his legal obligations as sponsor (on several occasions).
  • The recognised sponsor himself requests to be withdrawn.
  • The recognised sponsor has been issued a penalty for the third time for violation of the duty of care or the obligation to provide information and the IND has listed the violation as serious.
  • The recognised sponsor refuses to cooperate with the IND's compliance monitoring efforts.
  • The recognised sponsor does not carefully check whether the foreign national meets the conditions for a residence permit.
  • The recognised sponsor did not act adequately when it gained knowledge of or had suspicions of malpractice involving the foreign national's stay/residence in the Netherlands.
  • The recognised sponsor does not act as a sponsor for foreign nationals and has not had a residence permit or MVV granted on behalf of a foreign national for over 3 years.

The IND can refuse an organisation to again become a recognised sponsor for a maximum period of 5 years after the recognition has been withdrawn. The recognition can be withdrawn for 1 or more residence purposes. The organisation is removed from the Public Register of Recognised Sponsors. The organisation may not make use of the accelerated procedure during this period, the organisation cannot act as a recognised sponsor and all new applications for recognition will be rejected.

Withdrawal of the residence permits

When the recognition is withdrawn, the IND withdraws the residence permits of the foreign nationals who fall under the recognised sponsor's sponsorship. Withdrawal of the foreign national's residence permit will be individually assessed.

Was the foreign national unaware of the reason for the withdrawal? The residence permit will not be withdrawn immediately. The foreign national will have 3 months to look for another (recognised) sponsor. If he or she cannot find one within 3 months, the residence permit may be withdrawn. The foreign national will first receive a letter explaining that the IND intends to withdraw the residence permit (intended decision to withdraw).

Was the foreign national aware of the reason to withdraw the recognition or was he or she involved? In that case, the IND can instantly withdraw the residence permit.

Recovering the costs of removal

If the foreign national can no longer lawfully reside in the Netherlands, the Dutch Government will check to see if he of she leaves the Netherlands. If he or she does not leave the Netherlands voluntarily, the government may proceed with removal. The IND may recover the related costs from the sponsor. This includes the costs of transport to the airport or the border, the costs of the airline ticket and the costs of a travel document. The IND can recover these costs from the sponsor up to 1 year after the sponsorship period (the period in which you were the foreign national's sponsor) has ended.

If the costs cannot be recovered from the sponsor, the costs will be recovered from the foreign national in question.

Costs for removal no longer to be recovered
In some cases, the costs can no longer be recovered from the sponsor, for example, when:

  • The costs are recovered from a transport company (mostly an airline company).
  • The costs were incurred 1 year or more than 1 year after the sponsorship ended. The costs were incurred 6 months or more than 6 months after the hosting agreement ended if it involves a foreign national who stayed in the Netherlands as a scientific researcher/research worker pursuant to Council Directive 2005/71/EC or Council Directive (EU) 2016/801.
  • Someone else acts as sponsor of the foreign national.
  • The foreign national's residence permit has been changed or the foreign national was granted a permanent residence permit.
  • The foreign national has become a Dutch citizen.
  • The foreign national has passed away.