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Foreign employees normally require a work permit in the Netherlands (tewerkstellingsvergunning, TWV). However, EU, European Economic Area and Swiss nationals are exempt from this requirement. The EEA comprises the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland.
Conditions for permits
If you own a company in the Netherlands and you want to hire foreign workers from outside the EU, the EEA and Switzerland, generally they need either a TWV or a combined work and residence permit (gecombineerde vergunning voor verblijf en arbeid, GVVA). However, conditions apply to obtaining these permits. You must first do everything within your power to hire someone from within the EU, the EEA or Switzerland and the vacancy should be reported to the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) first. If you hire someone through an intermediary or you outsource work to another company, then these third parties must apply for the work permit.
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 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 (GVVA), the so-called single permit. The GVVA 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 (in Dutch) to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, IND).
Temporary cross-border services by foreign companies
If your company is based outside of the Netherlands, but within the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, and it performs an assignment in the Netherlands with employees that come from countries outside the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, these employees do not need a TWV or GVVA if:
- they are allowed to work in your company's country;
- you notify the UWV 2 days prior to the start of the assignment;
- your company's service does not comprise the provision of employees (as intermediairy, secondment or subcontracting).
No permit required
Accelerated procedures apply to:
- some categories of employees, such as senior management, specialists and employees of your foreign branch who come to the Netherlands to learn additional techniques (apprentices)
- top artists. If you are an employer active in dramatics, theatre, opera, musicals, classical music or dance, you can obtain a work permit for them. The artist's salary determines whether they belong to the top.
- since 1 July 2017 it is easier to hire temporary foreign personnel in the Netherlands if they are doing work that does not compete with the labour supply in the Netherlands and the EU. Companies must have the work approved by the Netherlands Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). If the work is approved, the employer does not need to request a work permit for foreign employees doing the work.
Residency rights of British citizens after Brexit
If you are a British citizen or you employ British citizens, British residency rights will change when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. For the latest information check the Immigration and Naturalisation Service Brexit page.
Changes in 2020
The government is planning to allow family members of foreign self-employed workers in the Netherlands to enter employment without a work permit (TWV) in the future. This means if you are a self-employed foreign worker, your family members will be able to work for you or another employer without requiring a permit. No date has been set for this change.