Accommodation for migrant workers

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Checked 30 Jan 2024
2 min read
Nederlandse versie

Do you employ migrant workers on a temporary basis? Do you arrange housing for foreign workers (labour migrants) in the Netherlands? There are requirements for supervision and quality of the accommodation. These rules apply to employers, employment agencies, and housing providers.

When do you need to provide accommodation?

If you employ foreign workers, in general you are not obliged to provide housing. However, you do have to provide suitable accommodation if:

  • it is included as a provision in the Collective Labour Agreement for your business sector
  • you employ workers who need a work permit
  • you have an employment agency or a company established outside of the Netherlands that employs workers in the Netherlands

Self-employed professionals must arrange their own accommodation.

How to provide accommodation

If you are the employer, you can provide accommodation yourself. For example by allowing the workers to stay on your company grounds. Or you can provide accommodation through a specialised housing provider.

Criteria for accommodations

If you provide migrant workers with housing, the accommodation has to meet several criteria. The SNF (Stichting Normering Flexwonen) sets standards (pdf) on among others:

  • capacity and living space
  • hygiene
  • privacy
  • sanitary facilities
  • safety
  • quality

Certain branch organisations require their members to work only with SNF-certified companies.

SNF certification

Do you want a SNF certification for you housing company? You can apply to have your accommodation inspected by SNF (in Dutch). If you meet the criteria, you will be included in the SNF register.

SNF register for employers

Do you have no housing for your migrant workers yourself, but do you rent all accommodation from SNF approved organisations? Then you register with SNF.

You must meet the SNF requirements if you:

  • deduct money from the foreign worker's gross minimum wage (up to a maximum of 25%)
  • agree with the foreign employee that they can use the accommodation. The agreement may be verbal
  • are an organisation that specialises in housing foreign workers

Requirements for housing providers

Where can foreign workers live?

The municipality designates areas where foreign workers can live. The building in which you want to house foreign workers must have a residential or lodging function in the municipal environmental plan. Furthermore, the municipal authority may set rules on:

  • the maximum number of foreign workers in a specific area
  • the maximum number of foreign workers in a specific building
  • when a specific building may be used for accommodating foreign workers

Environment and planning permit for housing

If you want to use an accommodation that has not been designated as housing in the municipality’s environmental plan, you have to apply for an environment and planning permit 'for acting in contradiction with the rules of spatial planning' (in Dutch). You can contact your municipal authority for more information (in Dutch).

Operating permit for accommodations

In some municipalities you need an operating permit before you can accommodate foreign workers. This depends on the General Municipal By-Law (APV). The operating permit states the requirements for the building and the building’s manager. For example, rules on living conditions, or on public disturbances.

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Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO