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Foreign freelancers/self-employed professionals who want to do assignments in the Netherlands and businesses in the Netherlands that want to subcontract work to a foreign freelancer/self-employed professional, must comply with the Act on the Employment of Aliens (Wet arbeid vreemdelingen, Wav). This Act contains various rules with regard to foreign freelancer/self-employed professionals working in the Netherlands.
Freelancers/self-employed professionals from EU, EEA or Switzerland
If you come from within the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you do not require a work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning, TWV) to be allowed to work as a freelancer/self-employed professional in the Netherlands. You do, however, have to demonstrate that you are truly self-employed. Self-employed means for instance you are in control over certain aspects of the services you provide. This can be verified by the Social Affairs and Employment Inspectorate (Inspectie SZW).
Freelancers/self-employed professionals from outside EU, EEA and Switzerland
Freelancers/self-employed professionals from outside an EU, EEA member country and Switzerland do require a work permit to be allowed to work in the Netherlands. Their contractor must apply for this work permit for them from the Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, UWV). However, freelancers/self-employed professionals in possession of a residence permit allowing residence for a self-employed professional or a residence permit including the endorsement 'Work is freely permitted' (Arbeid is vrij toegestaan) are exempt.
Residency rights of British citizens after Brexit
On 31 January 2020 the UK has left the European Union, which marks the start of the transition period until 31 December 2020. During this transition period, the UK is no longer a member of the EU, but will still be subject to EU regulations. If you are a British citizen or you employ British citizens, British residency rights will change after this transition period. 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 yet been set for this change.