Permit to work

An employer can only offer employment to a non EU-national if this employer has obtained a work permit (TWV). There are some exceptions to this rule, such as for EU-nationals, cross-border services within the EU,  intra-corporate transfers from outside the EU, highly-skilled migrants, EU Blue Cards and to some types of temporary work. A TWV is also not needed for foreign independent entrepreneurs who have a residence permit for self-employment.

Work permit

A work permit will only be granted if the employer has notified UWV in advance and has done his best to find employees for this position who are already allowed to work. An employer must demonstrate that no other person can be found within the EU for these specific activities. There are also some other requirements, including the condition that the wage is sufficiently high and competitive.

The employer must submit an application at the Immigration and Naturalisation Services (IND) for a single permit for residence and work (GVVA). This is a license which entitles the employee to stay in the Netherlands and work. This GVVA license combines the residence and work permits, comprising a residence permit and a supplement. This supplement details the circumstances and with which employer the work is allowed.

Highly-skilled migrants

If the employer is registered as a recognized sponsor (see below) this employer can hire highly-skilled foreign migrants. The main condition for obtaining such a residence permit is that the wages of this employee are sufficiently high: the (minimum)wage in 2021, for age 30 and above is € 4,752 gross per month (excluding 8% holiday pay), for those younger than age 30 the wage is € 3,484 and for recent graduates in the Netherlands or from a top university – within a search year/ 3 years after graduation – the amount is € 2,497. This wage must also be competitive. The IND, after consulting with the UWV, has often taken the position that the salary is high enough, but is not competitive. Erik Scheers has frequently and successfully contested those decisions which resulted in residence permits being granted to those highly-skilled migrants.

EU Blue Card

The EU Blue Card is the European counterpart of the Dutch highly skilled migrant residence permit, with a few differences. The Blue Card affords more EU mobility rights and the employer does not have to be a recognized sponsor. In contrast, there is a higher salary requirement of € 5,567 gross (excluding 8% holiday pay) and an education requirement (minimum 3-Year Bachelor’s Degree) with the foreign diploma needing to be rated by International credential evaluation (IDW).

Recognized sponsorship

Companies that wish to hire a foreign employee can (or in some cases must) be registered as a recognized sponsor with the IND before applying for a residence permit for the employee. After registration the company will be listed in a Public Register Recognised Sponsors. For highly-skilled migrant employees this is required, for other types of work permits, the employer can choose to become a recognised sponsor, but this is not obligatory. Recognition has several advantages, including faster decision periods, but there are also additional costs.

Self-employment and start-ups

Independent entrepreneurs interested in establishing their business in the Netherlands may qualify for a residence permit, if they can prove that their activities serve an essential interest for the Dutch economy. To assess this, the IND requests advice from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). This advice is based on a point system. Points are awarded based on personal experience, a business plan and the added value for the Netherlands.

There is also a special residence permit for start-ups. These are entrepreneurs who are allowed one year to start an innovative company in the Netherlands. In order to obtain a residence permit, this start-up needs to be accompanied by a reliable Dutch coach (facilitator). At the end of the one year, they can possibly qualify for a regular residence permit for self-employment.

For American, Japanese and Turkish entrepreneurs, there is a more favorable situation. On the basis of the Dutch American Friendship Treaty, the Japanese Trade Treaty and an international Treaty between the EU and Turkey, they don’t need to show that their activities serve an essential interest for the Dutch economy.

Looking for an experienced work permit lawyer?

Scheers Advocacy can inform an employer about the rules and can actively guide the application-processes for recognized sponsorship and work and residence permits for their employees. Scheers Advocacy can also guide the foreign entrepreneur/ start-up through the immigration-process in the Netherlands. If you would like to have more information about the conditions and possible guidance in your specific case, please contact Scheers Advocatuur.