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15 december 2022

About work permits in the Netherlands and how to get them

If you want to work in the Netherlands, you will need to obtain a working permit. The process of obtaining a working permit can vary depending on your nationality and the type of job you are applying for. In this article, we will describe all the different types of work permits and how Dutch Employer of Record can help you get one.

Who needs a Dutch work permit? 

Foreign nationals who want to work in the Netherlands will need a work permit, with a few exceptions for citizens of European Union countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The type of work permit you’ll need depends on the job you’re applying for and your nationality.

There is no general work permit in the Netherlands. You need a separate permit for each specific employer. The employer usually applies for the permit on your behalf – but sometimes it’s up to you as the employee to apply.

Different types of work permits

There are many different types of work permits in the Netherlands which can be divided in 5 categories:

  • Residence permits for paid employment
    • Single Permit (Residence and work permit) – GVVA
    • Residence permit for paid employment only
  • Residence permits knowledge and talent
    • Residence permit intra-corporate transferee
    • Residence permit for a highly skilled migrant
    • Residence permit European blue card
    • Residence permit for researcher according to Directive (EU) 2016/801
    • Residence permit for essential start-up personnel
  • Residence permit for orientation year
  • Residence permit as trainees or apprentice in the Netherlands
    • Residence permit for trainees at secondary vocational education (MBO) level
    • Residence for trainees at university (WO)/university of applied sciences (HBO) level
  • Other residence permits 
    • Residence permit independent contractor
    • Residence permit International trade regulation

We will explain the differences and for who these different types of permits are meant for.

Residence permits for paid employment

Single Permit (GGVA)

For employees who start working as an employee, a single permit is needed, this is a combined residence and work permit (in dutch: GVVA – Gecombineerde Vergunning voor Verblijf en Arbeid) is require. The GVVA combines the residence permit and the work permit (TWV – tewerkstellingsvergunning). Do note: for each of the following residence permits application, either high skills, scarcity of workers, passing the civic integration exam abroad or a minimum income is required for granting the permit.

The GVVA is required for the following jobs:

  • Paid employment 
  • Employee in the Asian Hospitality Industry
  • Spiritual minister or pastor.
  • Monastery or missionary.
  • Employee of an international non-profit organization.
  • Employee in art and culture.
  • Employee supplying goods to a foreign company: The employee starts working as an employee in connection with the delivery of goods to a foreign company.
  • Employee of goods supply by foreign company: The employee will work as an employee for assembling and repairing equipment supplied by a foreign company.
  • Employee intra-group secondment: The employee works for an international group and is transferred to the Netherlands as a trainee, key personnel, or specialist. The employee is not subject to intra-corporate transfer rules.

Residence permit for paid employment (not the single permit)

Are you going to work in paid employment in the Netherlands, but it is not possible for you to apply for a GVVA? For example, because you will work in one of the specific jobs or situations you will read below? Or you no longer need a work permit because you have worked for 5 years in a row in the Netherlands? Then you or your employer can apply to the IND for a residence permit for paid employment, if you want to work in any of these specific jobs:

  • Paid employment as a mass media correspondent
  • Paid employment as non-privileged military or civilian personnel
  • Paid employment under a Headquarters Agreement
  • Paid employment on a Dutch seagoing vessel or mining installation
  • You spend leave in the Netherlands after work on a seagoing vessel or mining installation
  • You are recovering from illness after work on a seagoing vessel or mining installation
  • You are looking for work on a seagoing vessel or mining installation
  • You are allowed to work without a work permit (TWV)

Residence permits knowledge and talent

The residence permits concerning knowledge and talent are designed to allow Dutch employer to bring talented foreigen professionals to their team in the Netherlands. This creates an opportunity for employers to quickly grant work permits for highly skilled immigrants. In this category, there are 5 different types of knowlegde en talent permits.

Residence permit intra-corporate transferee

The employee works for a company outside the European Union (EU). The employee is transferred as a trainee, manager or specialist to a location in the Netherlands.

Residence permit for a highly skilled migrant

The employee will work in a highly qualified position. A highly qualified position is a position that requires a high level of education. Or the position of (guest) teacher, doctor in training or researcher in paid employment. 

A few requirements are:

  • Minimum amount of wage.
  • Skills and experience that are relatively scarce.
  • A higher educational level (Bachelor minimum).
  • Some years of work experience.
  • Specialisation (for example in IT, engineering or science).

Find more information about how to hire a highly skilled migrant here.

Residence permit European blue card

The employee will perform highly qualified work within the EU. This is work that requires a high level of education. There is a wage requirement. And with this permit, the employee can work more easily in another EU country.

Residence permit for researcher according to Directive (EU) 2016/801

The employee starts working as a researcher according to Directive (EU) 2016/801. The employee may receive a grant in lieu of salary.

Residence permit for essential start-up personnel

The employee will work at a start-up in the Netherlands. There the employee plays an essential role for the growth of the start-up. The employee receives a salary and an employee participation.

Residence permit for orientation year

If you want to look for work in the Netherlands after your graduation, doctorate or research, then you need a residence permit. One of these situations applies to you:

  • You carried out research in the past 3 years. You had a residence permit in the Netherlands for research purposes or for work as a highly skilled migrant for research.
  • You obtained a master’s degree in the past 3 years in the context of an Erasmus Mundus Masters Course.
  • You completed one of the following study programmes in the past 3 years:
    • an accredited bachelor’s or master’s degree programme at a Dutch higher education institution.
    • a post-master’s programme in the Netherlands for at least one academic year (at least 10 months).
    • a study programme in the Netherlands in the context of the Cultural Policy (Special-Purpose Funding) Act.
    • a study programme in the Netherlands in the context of the development cooperation policy of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
    • a master’s degree programme, a doctoral programme or a post-master’s programme at a designated foreign educational institution. In addition, you meet one of these requirements:            
      • You obtained a minimum score of 6.0 on a test in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). There are 2 versions of the IELTS: Academic and General Training. It does not matter which version you have.
      • You obtained a minimum score of 6.0 on another accepted English language test (TOEFL, TOEIC and Cambridge English grades & scale) that is listed in the Code of Conduct for International Students in Higher Education.
      • You have a diploma, certificate or document as referred to in Article 2.1 of the Regulation on civic integration 2021 (only in Dutch).
      • Your master’s degree programme, doctoral programme or post-master’s programme was in English or Dutch.
  • You previously did not have a residence permit for an orientation year after performing this research, or completing this study programme or doctoral programme. Have you performed different research projects, or completed different study programmes or doctoral programmes? The IND can issue a residence permit for an orientation year after each performed research project, and after each completed study programme or doctoral programme. 

Residence permit as trainees or apprentice in the Netherlands

Residence permit for trainees at secondary vocational education (MBO) level

You are enrolled in a study programme at an educational institution outside the Netherlands. You have almost completed your study programme and your traineeship is a compulsory component of the programme. The duration of the traineeship is 6 months at most.

Residence permit for trainees at university (WO)/university of applied sciences (HBO) level

You are enrolled in a study programme at an educational institution outside the Netherlands. Or you obtained a diploma no more than 2 years ago. The duration of the traineeship is 1 year at most.

Residence permit for student on work placement

You are going to work at a Dutch company to gain experience for your job in your country of origin. The experience gained is important for the foreign employer’s business operations and you have a return statement. In this statement, the foreign employer states that the student on work assignment will be re-employed, immediately after they return.

Residence permit for Young Workers Exchange Program (YWEP)

  • You have the Canadian nationality.
  • You are over 18 but under 31 years old.
  • You are a student. Or you graduated less than 12 months ago. 
  • You have registered for a study programme. Or you obtained a degree at a university or university of applied sciences level no more than 12 months ago.
  • You have a phased traineeship agreement with learning objectives.
  • The duration of the traineeship is 1 year at most. 

Other residence permits 

Residence permit independent contractor

You would like to start as an independent contractor in the Netherlands, this would be the case when you take on individual assignments and don’t have a boss. 

Residence permit International trade regulation

You are going to work temporarily in the Netherlands for a project that the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) has approved for the International Trade Regulation. Are you going to work in the Netherlands for less than 3 months? Then you do not need a residence permit.

Need more help? We can help you with this process

The Dutch working permit application process can be complicated and time-consuming. If you need help with applying for a working permit, we can assist you.

At Dutch Employer of Record, we specialize in helping companies and employees with international expansion. We can take all the hassle and stress out of your hands and apply all necessary steps to get you or your employees working in the Netherlands as soon as possible.

Next to you that we can help your company set up a payroll and benefits solution in the Netherlands, and handle all of the paperwork associated with hiring employees in the Netherlands.

If you would like to learn more about our services, contact us or set up a profile.

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