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.

Foreign nationals must contact the nearest embassy or consulate and they can also check the Government of the Netherlands website, the Immigration and Naturalisation Service site, or The Netherlands and You official website

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, only the TWV is usually 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. 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 instance, 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.

Changing jobs

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 former 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.

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