Living in the Netherlands is an attractive proposition for many people. The Netherlands is a great place to live. The Dutch lifestyle is healthier than some, with miles of flat cycle routes so you can burn off the extra calories. It’s a beautiful place and cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Eindhoven offer amazing architecture and friendly locals. The Dutch also work fewer hours on average, so your life-work balance is likely to be better.
All in all, moving to the Netherlands to live and work could be just the ticket, but there are some hoops you need to jump through first. To help you get started, here are the main things you need to know before applying for a work permit in the Netherlands.
Do I Need a Work Permit for Short-Term Business Trips?
Not everyone needs a work permit to work in the Netherlands. It all depends on your nationality and your residency status. The first thing to consider is whether you are authorised to enter the Netherlands. If you are, are you authorised to work?
EU and EEA residents don’t need a visa to enter the Netherlands because they are entitled to free travel within the Eurozone. The same applies to Switzerland. Citizens of various other countries, including the United States and Canada, can stay in the Netherlands for up to 90 days without a visa. Everyone else must apply for a Schengen business visa. This should cover short-term work requirements. Check with the Dutch Consulate in your country.
Typical examples of short-term work opportunities include seasonal labour and student work opportunities.
UK residents are currently entitled to enter the Netherlands without a visa, but this might change after Brexit.
EU, EAA, and Swiss Nationals – Working in the Netherlands
Anyone with EEA, EU, or Swiss residency can stay for longer and work in the Netherlands, but after four months have elapsed, they must apply for a citizen service number, which is known locally as the Burger Service Nummer (BSN). To get this, you must register with the gemeente (local municipality).
This also applies to UK nationals, but again, the situation could change after Brexit.
Working in the Netherlands as a Non-EU Citizen
If you come from a non-European country, you will need to apply for residency in the Netherlands before you can work there. Apply for this from the Dutch Consulate in advance of your trip to the Netherlands or make an appointment at the Dutch Immigration Service when you arrive in the country.
Under the Entry and Residence procedure, known as the TEV, this can be done by your employer. You will receive a combined residence and work permit. If you want to stay longer than three years, you can apply for free access to the jobs market after three years, which entitles you to live and work in the Netherlands indefinitely.
The Knowledge Migrants Scheme
Like most countries, the Netherlands welcomes highly-skilled migrants such as doctors, engineers, etc. Anyone with desirable skills is eligible for the fast-track scheme whereby work permits are not required. A registered employer can lodge an application on behalf of the migrant and if approved they can start work immediately. It only requires one visit to the International Newcomers office in Amsterdam’s World Trade Centre. There you will be fingerprinted, assigned a BSN number, and receive a residence permit.
There are certain conditions that must be met for a migrant to qualify for the highly skilled scheme, including minimum salary requirements.
Other individuals, such as self-employed, blue card holders, and those coming to the Netherlands to join family, don’t need a separate work permit either. As long as they obtain a valid residency permit, they are eligible to work.
Hiring Foreign Nationals
Dutch companies can’t hire foreign nationals on a whim. They must follow certain procedures, including advertising the position locally before recruiting internationally. If your company needs to outsource HR when hiring individuals for jobs overseas, there are companies that can take care of this for you. They can handle visa and work permit applications and even manage your payroll. This lets you concentrate on your core business rather than worrying about red tape.
Always check the latest guidelines with the Dutch Consulate before you apply for a job or move to the Netherlands.