After the European Court ruled that the Dutch Immigration policies are not in line with the EU Constitution, the Dutch government recently lowered the requirements. While I do support it (after all, the law is the law and Holland has to comply as a member of the EU), a part of me wishes the requirements were higher.
The Dutch partner bears most of the burden during the application process. Prior to the recent change, the Dutch partner would need:
i) to earn a minimum of around €1550 nett (this is around €2100 gross) per month. This is 120% of the minimum wage and while it is not a lot of money, this pretty much excludes anyone without a degree, fresh graduates, teachers, nurses and so on.
ii) a minimum one year working contract on the date of application. This is a bigger problem. Permanent contracts are harder to get here, due to the strict Dutch employment laws which make it very difficult for a permanent employee to get fired. Also, this excludes freelancers, businessmen and so forth (even if they make €30 000 a month). That said, anyone who can prove they have earned the €1550 every single month for the last 3 years can still apply for the visa.
iii) and a few other minor documents, declarations (must guarantee to support partner and is liable for damages caused by partner up to a maximum of X). The 2 requirements above are the major hurdles for some couples.
Dutchman and I were lucky that he got a job with the necessary salary and a permanent contract, straight out of college. Our application was approved in 4 weeks (which was a major surprise for us as 4 weeks back then was considered very, very short).
Now that the rules have changed, I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Yes, I believe families have a right to be together. Yes, it is sad when a parent is separated from the kids, just because he/she does not fulfill the requirements. A very selfish part of me liked the requirements because I hate being lumped together with all the other uneducated immigrants (because I get so annoyed when Dutch people patronize me with this , that it is so easy to get a foreign partner here and that all these foreign partners go on welfare etc.). Also, I believe that the minimum wage (around €1400 before taxes) is just not enough to support a family. Even €1550 nett is not a lot. That said, there are families (fully Dutch, foreign or partly Dutch) surviving on that.
Yes, this entire post does not make sense. I did say I have mixed feelings!