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Work permits

In some cases, a work permit is not required

In order to be able to work in the Netherlands, third-country nationals (foreign nationals from outside the EU), in general, require a work permit (TWV). The Inspectorate SZW enforces this strictly and can impose fines on employers when foreign nationals without a valid work permit perform labour. Moreover, inspection results are published.

It is wise to examine whether specific regulations such as the Highly Skilled Migrants Scheme or the Intra-Corporate Transferee Scheme can offer a solution, before applying for a work permit for the intended employee. These schemes are usually faster and fewer documents are required. A work permit is not required in such cases.

Labour market test

Before a work permit (TWV) is issued, the UWV will first check whether there are any candidates present who do not need a TWV to perform work in the Netherlands, the so-called priority offering. The employer must demonstrate that the company has made sufficient efforts to attract this local offering. Only if the employer has made sufficient efforts and no local offering is present can a work permit be issued for the third-country national.

Other conditions must also be met. For example, the terms of employment and working conditions must be above the legal level. The foreign national must also have lawful residence in the Netherlands and in certain cases it may therefore also be necessary to apply for a residence permit. The procedure for a residence permit runs via the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). If a work permit is required, the employer usually applies for a ‘Combined residence and work permit’ (GVVA) via the IND. The work permit test is still assessed by the UWV because the IND asks the UWV for advice.

Duration work permit

In general, the work permit is issued for a maximum of one year, in certain cases this is three years.

Exceptional situations

Exceptions to the labour market test apply to specific situations. For example, a separate regime applies to cooks in the Asian hospitality industry, which makes it easier for them to obtain a work permit under certain strict conditions. Other special categories, such as teachers in international education, spiritual leaders, musicians and artists, do not, in principle, have to meet the labour market test, subject to certain conditions.

If there is no exception to the labour market test, more may be possible in certain cases than appears at first sight. We will of course gladly discuss the possibilities with you.

Our experienced lawyers will gladly think along with you.

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