Work permits


Work permits

To perform work in the Netherlands, non-EU nationals should in principle be in possession of a valid Dutch work permit. Performing work in the Netherlands unauthorized may lead to fines and/or other types of sanctions (Compliance).

Before starting an application for a work permit, we advise you to closely consider alternative permit options such as the Highly Skilled Migrant Scheme (HSM) or the Intra-Corporate Transfers Scheme (ICT).  In general, these schemes have a quicker processing time and less documentation requirements.

If these schemes do not apply or are not favorable to the particular situation, a general work authorization may be required.

Labour market test

The Dutch labor authorities (UWV) will assess if priority should be given to other candidates who do not require a work permit to perform work in the Netherlands. It is up to the applying company to show that a real effort has been made to find these priority-enjoying employees. If such candidates are not considered available, the company can hire an employee from outside the EU.

Other requirements, such as Dutch employment law requirements (sufficient salary, sufficient working conditions) and housing requirements, should also be met. The employee should also have the right to reside in the Netherlands and apply for a separate residence permit may, therefore, be required in certain circumstances.

Duration of work permit

In principle, a work permit will be granted for a maximum period of one year. In certain cases, the maximum validity is three years.

Asian restaurants

There are specific requirements for chefs in Asian restaurants (Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Thai, Tibetan, and Vietnamese cuisine). A two-year work permit can be granted without the abovementioned labor market test, under certain conditions. One of these conditions is that the employee is at least a specialty chef (level 4). Another condition is that the company either trains or hires employees who do not need a work permit in the Netherlands.

The Dutch government has installed an application cap. A maximum number of permits will be available, with the following caps per period:

  • 1 October 2016 – 30 September 2017: 1.800 permits
  • 1 October 2017 – 30 September 2018: 1.400 permits
  • 1 October 2018 – 30 September 2019: 1.000 permits

Other exceptions

There are certain other categories that are exempted from the labour market test. For example, teachers of international schools, religious leaders and artists. All these categories have their own sets of conditions that need to be met before a work permit can be granted.

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