EU citizens don't need a work permit for the Netherlands and don't have any restrictions when it comes to finding work. Non-EU residents, however, face a number of restrictions that have been put in place to avoid flooding the job market.
Getting a work permit may seem confusing at first, but fortunately, employers often bear most of the burden.
Work permits for the Netherlands
Types of work permits
There are two main types of work permits for the Netherlands: the employment permit (TWV) and the single permit (GVVA) or combined work and residence permit. For employment periods shorter than three months, usually, only the TWV is required, which employers apply for. Non-EU/EEA expats planning on working in the Netherlands for over three months must apply for the GVVA.
Getting the TWV
Dutch work permits (TWV) are employer- and job-specific, so non-EU expats will have to apply through a company. Unfortunately, employers who hire foreign employees must prove that the applicant’s skills can't be found elsewhere in the EU, which is highly unlikely. It is worth noting that those with highly sought-after skills or on an intra-company transfer may find that they are exempt from the labour market tests.
In some cases, applying for a work permit through an employer isn't necessary. Instead, foreign nationals must apply for the relevant residence permit, specifying their situation or line of work. For example, self-employed expats or expats starting a business in the Netherlands must apply for the relevant residence permit. The Immigration and Naturalisation Service provides more information on this.
Generally, a Dutch work permit is only granted for a maximum duration for one year.
Upon arrival in the Netherlands, expats should register at their local municipality and apply for a citizen service number known as a BSN. It's not possible to work in the Netherlands without a BSN, which is also needed to open a bank account, receive a salary, take out insurance and claim other benefits. Expats must also note that health insurance is essential in the Netherlands.
An expat may wish to change jobs during their stay in the Netherlands. While EU citizens won't encounter any restrictions to this, non-EU nationals must follow certain procedures. Both the original employer and the new employer are obligated to notify the IND about the employment change, filing relevant documents, usually within 28 days.
*Visa and work permit regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
►For the latest immigration information and regulations, visit The Netherlands and You official website: www.netherlandsandyou.nl
►Government of the Netherlands: www.government.nl
►Immigration and Naturalisation Service: ind.nl
►For an overview of the application process, see Visas for the Netherlands
►See Working in the Netherlands for more about the job market
"My work permit is for freelancers. It was pretty straightforward after a few kinks. I had a lawyer as well to help but it's all on you to get things processed. But to be honest if I would do it again I think I could have done it all on my own." Read about Monique's expat experience in the Netherlands.
"I encountered no problems when I applied for my work permit. If you have all your papers in order and a good reason to move here, everything is easy, especially with the new “Expat Centre”. Oh, you do need some good money to pay for the permits though." Check out our interview with Dana for more on getting visas and working in the Netherlands.
Are you an expat living in The Netherlands?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to The Netherlands. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Aetna International, offering comprehensive global medical coverage, has a network of 1.3 million medical providers worldwide. You will have the flexibility to choose from six areas of coverage, including worldwide, multiple levels of benefits to choose from, plus various optional benefits to meet your needs.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.