Permits for your foreign employees

This information is provided by

Immigration and Naturalisation Service, IND

There are several ways to employ staff from abroad. To work in a Dutch company, foreign employees will usually need a work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning). Special permits also exist for highly skilled / knowledge workers.

Your employee's visa during the corona crisis

If you have an employee in the Netherlands with a temporary residence permit or visa which is about to expire, they may be unable to leave the country due to the corona travel restrictions. Check the IND FAQ page to see if your question is answered there, or contact the IND for information and advice.

Less than 90 days

If you want to employ the foreign worker for less than 3 months, they will probably need a work permit. You can apply for this work permit (in Dutch only) to the Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, UWV). It is valid for a maximum of 1 year, after which you must apply for a renewal.

More than 90 days

If you want to employ the foreign worker for 3 months or more, you will generally have to apply for a combined residence and work permit, the so-called 'single permit' (Gecombineerde vergunning voor verblijf en arbeid, GVVA). This single permit is a residence permit with an additional document stating for which employer they are permitted to work and under which conditions. They therefore do not need a separate work permit. You must apply for the single permit to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, IND).

To come to the Netherlands, normally a provisional residence permit (mvv) is needed.

If your employee has a valid residence permit issued in a Schengen member state and you, as a recognised sponsor, have applied for a residence permit, no provisional residence permit (machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf, mvv) is required.

Residence arrangement for essential personnel for startups

Do you qualify as a startup? And do you need to hire certain highly skilled foreign experts, essential to the development and growth of your startup? As of 1 June 2021, startups can apply for a residence arrangement for essential personnel for start-ups. This 4-year pilot project makes hiring essential foreign personnel easier and faster. For example, your startup does not have to meet the recognised sponsor requirement that applies to the residence permit for highly skilled migrants. There are other conditions you need to fulfil to apply for the residence arrangement.

Read all conditions and how to apply on the IND website.

Temporary projects involving foreign employees

Do you want to allow foreign workers to come to the Netherlands temporarily to do work that does not compete with the labour supply from the Netherlands and the EU? As of 1 July 2017, you may not need to apply for a work permit for them.

Your company must apply to the Netherlands Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoering Werknemersverzekeringen, UWV) to have the project the employee(s) will work on approved. If it is approved, the employer does not need to apply for a work permit for the employees who are involved in the specified project.

Temporary cross-border services foreign companies

If your company is based outside of the Netherlands, but within the EEA or Switzerland, and it performs an assignment in the Netherlands with employees that come from countries outside the EEA or Switzerland, these employees do not need an MVV, TWV or GVVA if:

  • they are allowed to work in your company's country.
  • you notify the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV in Dutch) 2 days prior to the start of the assignment.
  • your company's service does not comprise the provision of employees (as intermediary, secondment or subcontracting).

Posting employees from the EEA/Switzerland

If the workers you post in the Netherlands are from the EEA or Switzerland, you have to notify the Ministry of Social aFFairs and Employment (SZW) for how long they are coming and what work they will be doing. Find more information about the notification duty and links to the notification portal in the article Posting employees to the Netherlands.

No work permit required

Some employees do not need a work permit. Make a copy of both sides of the residence permit and contact the IND for a check.

TWV not required for family members

Family members of foreign self-employed professionals in the Netherlands are allowed to enter employment without a work permit (TWV). Family members of self-employed foreign workers may work in their relative's company or for another employer without requiring a permit.

Where do I apply?

Generally speaking, you'll be able to obtain a work permit from the Employment Insurance Agency (UWV), but in some cases you'll have to apply for a combined residence and work permit (GVVA) from the IND.


The EU and the UK have reached an agreement on post-Brexit relations. If you are a British citizen or you employ British citizens, make sure you check the Immigration and Naturalisation Service Brexit page on residency rights after Brexit to find out what changes for you.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Immigration and Naturalisation Service, IND

This information is provided by

Immigration and Naturalisation Service, IND