Curaçao aims to integrate, through infrastructure, and especially ICT, a series of institutes and projects ranging from the Airport City and the Space Port, Ctex data center, University of Curaçao, IFE school for nurses, United Telecommunication Services (UTS), Caribbean International University, World Trade Centre, Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity Institute and Research Centre, Aqualectra Utility Company, and the new Hospital.
As part of the new TNE policy, the government is looking at ways to provide incentives to institutions and students to expand this initiative and attract more similar institutions, both within and outside this area.
Education is governed by the principle of freedom of education. This means that everyone can start a school and is allowed to choose a school of their liking. Education that is focused on the local labour market is under strict supervision by the Inspectorate of Education and could be subsidised by the government. TNE institutions can establish themselves freely, however Universities should be accredited by an accrediting body which is approved by the Government of Curaçao.
Permits and Requirements
Permits and Requirements
As is the case with students, teaching staff also needs a permit. In their case a residence permit and a work permit are required. A similar arrangement, with expedited procedures, has been established for teaching staff. This means the institutions will apply for the residence and work permit.
To apply for the residence permit the following documents are needed with the request form:
- ✓ A list of all personnel (local and foreign) working at the company which is registered on the Island. If the company is not registered, the data of the company representing the company on the Island
- ✓ Copy of passport of the foreigner who will come to work
- ✓ A clear description of the tasks the foreign worker will execute
- ✓ The period the foreign worker will stay on the Island
- ✓ A Project- or Contract plan for the work being executed
- ✓ Date of arrival and date of departure
- ✓ Diploma’s, certificates and reference letters
- ✓ Deposit slip of retribution costs of the Labor Department
- ✓ Copy of actual registration of the Chamber of Commerce (with the stamp of the Chamber of
Commerce) the registration should not be older than 6 months of the company which is
registered on the Island. If the company is not registered, the data of the company representing
the company on the Island
- ✓ Copy of the Labor register of the company which is registered on the Island. If the company is not registered, the data of the company representing the company on the Island
- ✓ Copy of the establishment permit of the company which is registered on the Island. If the company is not registered, the data of the company representing the company on the Island
- ✓ In case the director is a foreigner we require a directors permit
- ✓ Governmental declaration of conduct (not older than 3 months)
- ✓ Proof of employment letter
- ✓ Work permit
The institutions don’t need a work permit for Dutch or American nationals.
Depending on the nationality of the teacher a visa may be required.
Application for a visa has to be entered at the Dutch Embassy or Consulate.
The institution itself also needs to be established. There are different legal entities available under private law (such as the foundation and the (private) limited liability company). The time required to complete the incorporation and to obtain the necessary licenses varies. Depending on the complexity of the legal form of the entity, a NV or BV can be incorporated in one day while the necessary licenses can be obtained within a few weeks. It is up to the institution to choose the one that best fits the purpose of the institution. A notary office can support the process of establishing a business. The legal entity needs to apply for a business license and a director’s license from the Ministry of Economic Development of Curaçao permitting the corporation to act on the island. Director’s license is needed for each managing director (the law does not limit the number of managing directors); in addition, managing directors need a residence and a working permit to live and work in Curaçao. This requirement applies to all expatriates. Expatriates with a Dutch passport do not need a working permit.
Also, TNE institutions require accreditation by an accreditation body, recognised by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Curaçao. The Government of Curaçao does not provide accreditation, but a charter is provided, recognising the establishment of the institution on Curaçao.
The business license and the accreditation are reviewed during the application process. An approved institution will receive its economic permit and is provided with contact information to deal with the Immigration Office.
Other documents required for the 1st business establishment license:
- ✓ Proxy letter and Proxy holder’s ID document (if the applicant’s proxy is granted by the director)
- ✓ Trade Register extract regarding the legal person, not more than 3 months old
- ✓ Description of the sole proprietorship’s business activities
- ✓ Photocopy of the director(s) passport(s) (If one of the directors is a locally established legal person, the current business establishment permit must be submitted; if one of the directors is a foreign legal person, a Trade Register extract regarding the legal person issued in its country of establishment must be submitted)
- ✓ The director(s) Civil Registry extract (with value of ang. 5,- or ang. 10,-), not more than 3 months old (for resident directors) or
- ✓ Conduct certificate in respect of the director(s), not more than 3 months old, issued in the director’s country of residence (for non-residents).
For foreign directors:
- ✓ Copy of a valid residence permit or
- ✓ Certification of automatic admission by law for an indefinite period, or
- ✓ Certification to the effect that the National Ordinance on Admission and Expulsion does not apply or
- ✓ Naturalization Decree or
- ✓ Current director’s license: this must not be older than 5 years as from the date of issuing the application for the establishment permit or
- ✓ Proof of investments made or to be made
- ✓ ANG 20.00 revenue stamp (to be submitted at the time of receiving the permit).
Several tax incentives are applicable with the establishment of an institute and/or the employment of staff members. We refer in this respect to the tax holiday regime as well as the regulations for ex-patriates.
Tax holiday regime
Newly incorporated local companies with the legal form of a Public limited liability company or a Private limited liability company, can apply for a favourable tax regime if the following conditions are met:
- an investment for the construction and initial furnishing of the company amounts to a minimum of NAf. 250.000 (approximately USD 138.000);
- employment is provided to a minimum of five individuals of Dutch nationality who were born on Curaçao;
- It is expected that the company will contribute to broaden the economic base of Curaçao.
If granted, the tax holiday regime can have the following benefits:
- exemption of import duties on materials and goods for construction and initial furnishing of the company, including all equipment necessary to enable the new company to commence its business;
- exemption of tax on immovable property;
- reduction of profit tax, where a minimum profit tax of 2% is levied on the realized profit.
The abovementioned exemptions and reduction of profit tax can be granted for a period between 2 and 11 years.
Employees who have not resided in Curaçao in the last five years may be eligible for the ex-patriates regulation. This regulation applies when the following conditions are met:
- a contract of employment is in place between the employee and the TNE institution;
- the employee will be employed in Curaçao long term;
- the employee has a degree of an academic level or of a higher education;
- the employee has a minimum salary of NAf. 150.000 (approximately USD 82.500);
- the specific expertise of the employee is not readily available on Curaçao.
If granted, the ex-patriates regulation grants the following advantages:
- the employee and the TNE institution can agree on a net salary which will not have to be grossed up (the employer will take care of the wage and personal income tax of the employee);
- certain wage components are not included in the taxable salary, such as reimbursements for certain travel expenses or for education of the employee and his or her spouse and children;
- fringe benefits are tax exempt up to NAf. 15.000 (approximately USD 8.300).
Special tax facilities are available for newly incorporated companies for the operation of hotels and other establishments providing accommodation and recreation aiming to promote visit of tourists to Curaçao and which can be expected to broaden the economic base of the Netherlands Antilles. These tax incentives are granted by the Government of the Netherlands Antilles under the Tax Holiday regime. The Island Government of Curaçao has an advising role in the process of granting the tax holiday.
The regulation applies for 5 years, with the possibility of an extension up to 10 years.