Bringing contractors here from the east

24th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

Our resident expert navigates through the process of bringing in contractors from the new EU states in Central and Eastern Europe.


Your question is straightforward but not easy to answer. There are a couple of angles you need to take into consideration: work permits/entry visas/residence permits, and the different nationalities of your employees.

Kindly note the following:

ON 26 November 2004, the Dutch Cabinet decided that companies from eight of the 10 new EU-member states (Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Slovakia) that intend to provide services in the Netherlands, no longer require Dutch work permits for their employees.

This applies to their employees with Polish, Estonian, Latvian, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Czech, Slovenian, and Slovakian nationalities, but also to their employees with non-EU nationalities.

There is one exception: employment intermediaries/ service providers will still be required to arrange Dutch work permits.

This decision by the Dutch government was a direct result of complaints filed by several entrepreneurs from new EU-member states with the European Commission. The complaints were based on the assumption that mandatory Dutch work permits for staff of new EU member states was a violation of the EU free movement of service principle.

In order to keep tabs on the flow of services from the new EU-member states, the Dutch cabinet decided that new policy was needed.  Based on the new policy companies from Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Slovakia can be required to report to the Dutch 'Centrale Organisatie Werk en Inkomen' (CWI)before the start of activities in the Netherlands.

That way, illegal activities can be sifted out by the CWI at the beginning of the process, and on-site checks can be carried out if required.

It was expected that this new Dutch policy regarding companies from the new EU-member states would have been implemented in the spring of 2005. It is now summer and the new policy is still nowhere in sight.

It may take months before anything is clear. In the meanwhile it is rumoured that the European Commission is preparing legal action against the Netherlands as a result of the aforementioned violation of the EU free movement of service principle.

Since 1 May 2004 the Dutch MVV (special entry visa) requirement is no longer applicable, meaning, in general, citizens of the new EU-member states can travel to the Netherlands based on a valid passport alone.

If and when the citizen of one of the new EU-member states intends to stay in the Netherlands for more than three months, the citizen may/should apply for a Dutch residence document.
Note that employers of staff with new EU-member state nationalities are usually bound by the general Dutch work permit requirement. For certain occupations however Dutch work permits can be quite easily obtained after a simplified work-permit application procedure.

In May of this year the Dutch cabinet decided to extend the general Dutch work permit requirement. It will now remain in force till May 1, 2006. If the Dutch cabinet wants to extend the general Dutch work permit requirement again, the European Commission needs to be informed before May 1, 2006.

Recently the Dutch cabinet evaluated the total number of employees from the eight new EU-member states. It seems their numbers have doubled: 12,540 employees in 2003 against 24,728 in 2004. Most of the Central and East European employees were active on short-term contracts in the agricultural and meat industries of the Netherlands.

Patrick R. Rovers, 
lawyer with Van Velzen CS

24 August 2005

This column is for informative purposes only, is general in nature, and is not intended to be a substitute for competent legal and professional advice. Dutch and European rules and regulations regarding foreigners, policies, procedures, work permits, visas, residence permits etc. are continuously subject to change.

Write to Patrick Rovers and Hans van Velzen

[Copyright Patrick R. Rovers and Expatica 2005]  

Subject: Dutch law + living in the Netherlands + working in Holland 

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