A number of measures have been introduced since 2004 which make it more attractive for (higher educated) labour migrants to come to the Netherlands. Employers no longer have to have a work permit for knowledge migrants with a salary above a pre-determined threshold. These migrants can also be fast-tracked for a residence permit.
On the other hand the policy on family formation and family reunion has been tightened. For people who want to bring in a partner from abroad, the minimum age was raised from 18 to 21 years, and the income requirement was raised from 100 to 120 percent of the minimum wage. The higher minimum age also applies for the immigrating partner. In addition, newcomers are subject to stricter requirements with respect to naturalisation, and since 1 January 2007 migrants who have lived in the Netherlands for a longer period will have to take a compulsory citizenship test.
On 1 May 2007 citizens from Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic (countries who joined the European Union on 1 May 2004) will be free to work in the Netherlands. Until then, employees from these countries need a work permit. For immigrants from Cyprus and Malta the freedom to work has been applicable since the accession of these countries on 1 May 2004.