As with most information regarding the bureaucracy in the Netherlands, this information can only be used as a guide for obtaining a work permit.
Always double check!
Citizens from the European Union/European Economic Area
People with a European Union/EEA passport can work freely in the Netherlands.
Citizens from non-EU/EEA
There are only two ways for a non-EU/EEA citizen to obtain a Dutch work permit:
1. Apply direct
The first way is to apply directly to companies yourself. The chance is very small that a company will hire you directly. The reason for this is that companies are looking for people who can start working immediately and have all their paperwork already sorted.
The red tape involved in applying for a work permit may take up to 6 months and companies just don’t have time for that. It is just too expensive. If however, you manage to find a company who wants to hire you, then the company will start the process of obtaining a work permit for you after you have obtained an MVV (“Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf”).
This process is not as easy as it sounds. The company has to prove to the Dutch government that it is in their best interest to hire you instead of all the other Dutch and EU candidates. They also have to prove that the job has been advertised for at least six weeks and that they have interviewed Dutch and EU candidates, yet you were the best person for the job.
If you obtain a work permit through a company, please bear in mind that this work permit is only issued for working within this particular company. If you stop working for that company, the permit will no longer be valid.
2. Dutch Partner
The second way of obtaining a work permit is when you have a Dutch or EU partner. Your partner must be living and working in the Netherlands and be willing to sponsor you. This means that your partner agrees to be financially responsible for you whilst you are looking for a job or if you lose your job. The two of you must prove that you are in a relationship and that you live together. If the relationship should end or one of you should move out, the permit will no longer be valid.
So, you first step is to obtain a provisional residency permit (MVV: Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf) from the Dutch embassy in your home country.
To apply successfully for an MVV you must have proof that you have received a real job offer in the Netherlands (E.g. a draft employment contract and supporting letters from your prospective employer). Your prospective employer must then apply for your MVV with the CWI (Centre for work and Income). As the CWI deals with all work permit procedures, your prospective employer has to submit all the necessary documents to this organisation.
Nationals from one of the countries listed below don’t need an MVV but should arrange a residence permit (so called ‘VTV’.
This is normally rubber stamped) within the first three days of arrival in the Netherlands at office of the local Alien Police
||Switzerland (incl. Liechtenstein)
Nationals of all other countries should apply for a residence permit (MVV) at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in their normal country of residence before an application for a work permit application is sent. The candidate is then prohibited from travelling to any ‘Schengen’ country until a decision has been made with regard to the application. Once the work permit has been approved, the MVV will normally be issued by the Embassy within a period of a few days. However, for certain countries the MVV can take months to come through.
Citizens of Bulgaria and Romania
Citizens of Bulgaria and Romania are unable to work restriction free in the Netherlands. In most cases, the employer still needs to apply for a ‘tewerkstellingsvergunning’ (right to work) with the Dutch employment Authorities (CWI). This is a complex procedure, as the employer needs to prove that there is no Dutch citizen sufficiently qualified for the vacancy.
For the latest information, please go the IND website (the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Office) or the European Union website. The IND website provides a large amount of information, as well as forms which can be downloaded and directly sent to either the alien police (vreemdelingenpolitie) or the IND. You can also contact the IND at 0900-1234561 (10 cents per minute). From abroad dial: +31 20 8893045. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Policy for highly skilled migrants
A highly skilled migrant is someone coming to the Netherlands for the purpose of employment, earning a minimum gross income of €49,087, or €35,997 if the highly skilled migrant is younger than 30 years of age. The income criteria will not apply if the person involved takes up employment with an educational or research institute, or is a postgraduate student or university lecturer under the age of 30.
As from 19-12-2007 graduates who finished their studies in the Netherlands can also obtain a workpermit as a “”kennismigrant”". Their minimum yearly wage should be €25,800 to qualify for this rule.
Employers wishing to employ a highly skilled migrant are no longer required to have a work permit. Companies and institutions have a duty to comply with certain obligations, i.e. to submit complete applications, to report relevant changes and to provide
for the employee. The government shall make every effort to deal with these applications as soon as possible, but within two weeks at the latest. (In reality this takes a lot longer! Sic.)
An important condition for admission as a highly skilled migrant is that the employer has concluded an agreement with the IND.
Partners and children from the knowledge migrants will be allowed to work without a work permit, if they are included in the application (and if the application is approved!).
Whether you need a work permit to work in the Netherlands depends on your nationality.
- Citizens of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom
don’t need a work permit and there are no restrictions to the amount of hours you can work.
- Citizens of other countries
do need a work permit, but this is free of charge.
In addition, Dutch law restricts the number of hours a student may work in the Netherlands.
You must chose between:
- (Fulltime) seasonal work in the months of June, July and August
- Part-time work throughout the year, but no more than 10 hours a week.
You can NOT do both!
In Dutch a work permit is called a “Tewerkstellingsverklaring”, often abbreviated to TWV. Your employer or employment agency must apply for your work permit, you cannot do this yourself, at the Centre for Work and Income (CWI), tel: +31 79 75 02 903.
A copy of the front and back of your residence permit for study purposes and proof of enrollment must accompany the application for a work permit. It will take the CWI 1-2 weeks to process the application. Your work permit will be valid for the same period
you are studying at university. You will therefore need to request a new work permit if you renew your registration at the university.
Working Holiday Scheme
The working holiday scheme enables citizens from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, between the ages of 18 and 30, to work in the Netherlands for up to one year.
You can arrange your working holiday scheme with the Dutch Embassy in your country. If you comply with the rules of the scheme, you will receive a temporary residence permit. With this permit you will also be allowed to work in the Netherlands for up to one year.
You will still have to register with the alien police (vreemdelingenpolitie) in the Netherlands (within three days of your arrival) to validate the permit.