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I came across a Japanese-language article saying that Japanese citizens will no longer be able to work in the Netherlands without a permit. Recently they were able to do so because of an existing treaty between the Netherlands and Japan. From No Work Permit in the Netherlands Needed for Japanese Nationals:

Under the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between Japan and the Netherlands Japanese nationals should be treated similar to Swiss nationals under the Trade Treaty between Switzerland and the Netherlands. As Swiss nationals do not need a permit under this Treaty, the same applies to Japanese nationals.

How did the Netherlands government change the situation, and why did they do so?

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Giving Japanese nationals free access to the Dutch labour market was an unintended consequence of two treaties. And while there are no direct problems with Japanese, the bigger problem is that countries with similar trade treaties to the Netherlands could claim similar rights.

This was rectified by releasing an interpretative declaration of the Swiss treaty, which clarified the intent of the treaty.

The minister of social affairs Lodewijk Asscher clarified the reasons in a letter to the house of representatives stated that (emphasis mine):

4. Wat was de reden om de interpretatieve verklaring op te stellen?

Andwoord 4: Aanleiding voor de verklaring vormde de uitspraak van de Afdeling Bestuursrechtspraak van de Raad van State van 24 December 2014. In die uitspraak oordeelt de Afdeling dat de toegang tot de Nederlandse arbeidsmarkt voor Zwitserse onderdanen vrij is. Op grond van het meestbegunstigingsclausule in het Handels- en Scheepsvaartverdrag met Japan hebben, volgende de Afdeling, ook Japanse onderdanen dit recht. Nederland en Zwitserland hebben evenwel nooit bedoeld dat het Nederlands-Zwitserse Tractaat vrij toegang tot de arbeidsmarkten van beide landen toestaat. Dit is met de verklaring recht gezet.

5. Waarom acht u het wenselijk dat voor Japanners die in Nederland willen komen werken weer een tewerkstellingsvergunning is vereist? Heeft u aanwijzingen dat er problemen ontstaan met Japanners op de Nederlandse arbeidsmarkt?

Antwoord 5: Zoals hiervoor al is aangegeven is het nooit de bedoeling van Nederland en Zwitserland geweest om de bepalingen inzake toelating, verblijf, vestiging, en het verrichten van arbeid zelfstandige betekenis te geven. Vanwege de meestbegunstigingsclausule inde bilaterale handels- en vriendschapsverdragen van het Koninkrijk kunnen mogelijk ook onderdanen van andere landen waarmee Nederland een dergelijk verdrag heeft gesloten dezelfde rechten claimen.

What?! You don't read Dutch?!

4. What was the reason to release the interpretative declaration?

The reason for the declaration was the decision of the Department Administrative Law of the State Council of 24 December 2014. In that statement The Department concluded that Swiss nationals have free access to the Dutch labour market. On the basis of the "most favoured nation" (MFN) clause in the Trade and waterway treaty with Japan the Department came to the conclusion that Japanese nationals also have this right However, it was never the intention of either the Netherlands or Switzerland to establish free access to the labour markets of either country. This has been rectified with this declaration.

5. Why do you consider it desirable that a work permit to be required for Japanese who want to work in the Netherlands? Do you have indications of problems with the Japanese in the Dutch Labour market?

Answer 5: As indicated before, it was never the intention of the Netherlands and Switzerland to establish provisions relating to entry, residence, establishment, and labour. Due to the BFN in the bilateral trade and friendship treaties of the Kingdom it is possible that nationals of other countries with similar treaties may claim similar rights.

Also see this announcement from the Dutch immigration service.

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