Work permits

29th July 2003, Comments 0 comments

Follow our guide to make sure you are legally entitled to work in the Netherlands.

If you are not a citizen of an EU country, you will require a work permit.

It is primarily the responsibility of the employer to apply for a permit. Applications are submitted to the local employment office in the city in which you live.

The following documents will be required of you:

  • Copy of passport
  • Address in home country
  • Copy of rental agreement
  • Copies of diplomas, degrees, etc.
  • Copy of visa, date of arrival
  • Copy of your employment contract
It is vital that you obtain a work permit in order to get a residence permit at a later date.

Employer’s duties

The employer must ensure the vacancy is reported to the employment exchange at least five weeks before filing the application; otherwise the application may be voided.

If you have been transferred to The Netherlands by your company, your employer does not have to report the vacancy. However, you must have worked for the company for at least one year in a position of middle or senior management.

As a rule, the decision on applications is made within five weeks. It therefore takes ten weeks from the date the vacancy has been reported before the position can be filled. Work permits are only issued to people aged between 18 and 45. People over 65 may be hired for short-term work only.

A work permit is only granted when no one else living in The Netherlands or other EU countries is available or qualified for the position. Technically, an employer should do everything in its power to hire someone in The Netherlands or another EU country.

After a position has been filled, the employer must prove he/she has actively searched in The Netherlands for a worker and applied for a work permit. The Aliens Police, officials from the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Employment Office have the right to perform unannounced inspections. Companies that employ aliens to work without a permit risk criminal prosecution, leading to a substantial fine or imprisonment.

Employers need to provide the following information:

  • Paper from the Chamber of Commerce that proves the company’s registration with them
  • Employer’s name, address and telephone number
  • Number of employees within the company
  • Employee’s job title
  • Employee’s future duties and responsibilities
  • The address of the place where the work will be performed
  • Employee’s working hours
  • Employee’s gross wage per month
  • Labour agreement
  • The time period of employment

Spouses/partners who accompany employees on company transfers are allowed to work in The Netherlands for the same period of time as the transferred employee’s permit allows for. However, spouses/partners also require a work permit.

Types of permits

There are three types of work permits: employment, conditional and non-renewable. Employment permits are valid for a maximum of three years. Conditional permits are for unique situations and are only valid for one year. Non-renewable short-term permits are valid for a maximum of 24 weeks. These permits are usually for seasonal workers.

After five years working in The Netherlands, employees no longer need to renew their permits. 

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