Business trips, trainings and other short term visits


Business trips, trainings and other short term visits

Business travellers come and go but are there any compliance risks? When do you need a work permit?

The most widespread misconception is that business visits are not considered to be ‘work’. The basic rule is that non-EU nationals who perform work in the Netherlands should be in possession of a work permit and ‘work’ is broadly defined here. There are some exceptions to this rule, most notably the business visa exceptions to conduct business meetings or enter into contracts. However, these exceptions are limited in both the duration and the nature of the ‘work’. The exemption allows business visitors to visit the Netherlands for a maximum period of 13 weeks per year and “business meetings” and “contract negotiations” are defined very narrowly.

There are other activities exempted from the work permit requirement,  such as: repairing or installing machines and equipment and attending a specific type of training or receiving instructions. These activities can be performed in a period of 12 weeks within a 36 weeks period, and only under strict conditions.

Work performed outside the scope of the aforementioned exceptions may have serious consequences, such as fines of up to 12.500 euro, publications of violations and consequences for the employee’s right to enter the Netherlands in the future. We therefore advise to act cautiously with business travellers. Organizations with large numbers of business travellers and compliance driven businesses may choose to use a protocol to standardize and regulate these type of activities. Last but not least, seek advice if you are not sure whether the activity falls under the exemption!

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