Permits for your foreign employees

Published by:
Immigration and Naturalisation Service, IND
Immigration and Naturalisation Service, IND
3 min read

There are several ways to employ staff from abroad. To work in a Dutch company, foreign employees will usually need a work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning). Find out how to apply for a work permit. And learn more about special permits and conditions for highly skilled migrants and knowledge workers.

Foreign employees: less than 90 days

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

Foreign employees: 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. This is 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 from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).

To come to the Netherlands, normally a provisional residence permit (machtiging tot voorlopig verblijf, 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 (mvv) is required.

Temporary projects involving foreign employees

Do you want to allow foreign workers to come to the Netherlands temporarily to work? And hiring a foreign employee for this project would not compete with the labour supply from the Netherlands and the EU? You may not need to apply for a work permit for them. This is set out under the International Trade Regulation (Regeling internationale handel).

Your company must apply to the Netherlands Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) to use this process. UWV must approve the project that the employee(s) will work on. If UWV approves, the employer does not need to apply for a work permit for the employees who are involved in the specified project. The International Trade Regulation application is only available in Dutch.

Temporary cross-border services for 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 post a notification of this temporary posting or assignment via the Dutch online notification portal.
  • Your company's service does not involve providing staff (as an intermediary, secondment or subcontracting).

Is no work permit required?

Some foreign employees do not need a work permit. For example, highly skilled migrants, researchers, and European Blue Card holders. To be certain, make a copy of both sides of the employee’s residence permit and contact the IND to check.

Work permits for family members

Sometimes the family members of a foreign employee are allowed to enter employment without a work permit (TWV). For example, family members of foreign self-employed professionals, highly skilled migrants, researchers, and some other groups. The family members must apply for a residence permit to live in the Netherlands, but a separate work permit is not necessary.

Where do I apply for a work permit?

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

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Immigration and Naturalisation Service, IND