On 1st April 2014, a new immigration regulation was passed in Greece. This is now in effect as of 2nd June 2014. As confirmed by the Ministry of Interior, under this Greek immigration law (No. 4251/2014), family members of Van der Elst visa holders will no longer be entitled to be issued with dependent visas.
The Van der Elst process is an immigration process, based on the ECJ’s ruling of 1994, whereby a non-EEA national who is employed and contracted by a home entity in the EEA country and sent on short term assignment to another EEA country no longer requires a work permit. Up until now, Van der Elst visa holders were also permitted to be accompanied by their dependants. However, according to the new regulation, Van der Elst visa holders may no longer bring dependents with them to Greece.
Additionally, up until now in Greece, Van der Elst visas (employed by a company in another EU or EEA member state) as well as short-term D visas (employed outside the EU and EEA) were permitted to be renewed once for a period of up to 6 months. However, Van der Elst and short-term D visas may now no longer be renewed, further to the new regulation. Furthermore, renewals of Van der Elst Visas and D visas for Short Term Assignments may also now be curtailed
Further points to note are that:
- No residence permits will be granted for holders of Van der Elst visas or D visas for Short Term Assignments;
- Holders of Van der Elst or D visas are no longer required to obtain a medical certificate during their stay in Greece.
- Finally, senior managerial level employees may be locally hired by Greek entities, as opposed to previously, when these employees could only be hired by Greek multinational companies where more than 50% of the shares were foreign owned.
What should family members do instead?
Family members wishing to accompany Van der Elst visa holders to Greece will need to enter as tourists and in some cases may need to apply for short term Schengen Type C visas. However, please be aware that Schengen Type C visas are issued at the discretion of the Greek Consulate in the country of origin. Further, it is also important to note that visits on a Schengen Type C visa will be limited to stays of 90 days out of a 180 day period in the whole of the Schengen area.
Furthermore, these changes are likely to result in a temporary slowdown in processing times, while the new law is implemented.
If you require further advice on Van der Elst visas, please contact us.