How do I work here as a trainee?

13th August 2003, Comments 0 comments

Our columnists explain the "fast track" trainee application and other important permit rules.


I have Latvian nationality. My current employer in Latvia is part of a huge multinational organization with subsidiaries all over the world. In the autumn of 2002, I will be transferred to one of our factories near Haarlem, the Netherlands. I intend to fill the position of trainee with the Dutch subsidiary for two years, and hope to gain as much experience as possible. I understand some kind of work permit is needed. Where can I get one? What about a visa?

Every year, trainees from all over the world come to the Netherlands for temporary employment and training. And in general, a work permit is required.

A Dutch employer of a trainee from one of the countries of the European Union is exempted from the work permit requirement. But you should note that only Dutch employers can apply for and secure a Dutch work permit. You, as a foreign employee, are not eligible to apply for one. Non-EU nationals, who wish to work in the Netherlands as trainees with a multinational, should keep in mind the following information.

The Labour Act regarding aliens holds some favourable regulations concerning trainees with multinationals in the Netherlands. A work permit is still required but the application procedure is simplified considerably. The Dutch multinational/employer is not obliged to advertise in a Dutch national newspaper or magazine, nor is a listing of the job opening with the local Employment Office and EURES needed.

With regard to this "fast track" trainee application, the following rules and regulations apply:

  • the non-EU trainee should hold a university or higher education degree (masters or bachelors degree);
  • the Dutch multinational/employer has to submit a detailed trainee programme, showing the necessity of actual employment and training in the Netherlands;
  • the non-EU trainee is entitled to local terms of employment (similar to local trainees);
  • the term of employment in the Netherlands has to be less than three years.

As a Latvian national coming to the Netherlands for more than three months, you should apply for a special entry visa, known as a 'Machtiging voorlopig verblijf’ or MVV. I recommend you contact the Dutch embassy or consulate in Latvia for some guidance.

Your Dutch employer can assist you with regard to the MVV application by starting a ‘referent’-procedure in the Netherlands. Please check with your prospective Dutch employer if they have a premium processing deal with the Dutch Aliens Police and ‘Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst’or IND, known as ’verkorte MVV procedure’. This procedure may enable you to receive an MVV in a few weeks time.

After your arrival in the Netherlands, you should register with the local Aliens Police department, and apply for a residence permit. The Aliens Police will not process the residence permit application without proof of the MVV in your Latvian passport.

Patrick R. Rovers

October 2002

Dear Expatica readers, feel free to contact our office with any questions or suggestions for future columns you may have. But please note that due to a hectic schedule and a planned holiday there may be some delay in a response.

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 rules and regulations regarding aliens, work permits, visas, and residence permits are continuously subject to change.

Patrick Rovers and Hans van Velzen

Subject: Ask the Experts

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