Visas and Work Permits 10 min

Work permits and visas in the Netherlands: an employer’s guide

Written by Sally Flaxman
November 28, 2023
Sally Flaxman


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Staying up-to-date with the Netherlands' immigration regulations can be intimidating for employers while hiring or relocating employees to the Netherlands.

Companies are legally responsible for securing proper work authorization before hiring a non-citizen for any type of labor in the Netherlands. A failure to secure the right work permits or non-compliance with labor rules can result in fines, penalties, or reputational damage. 

That’s why many businesses choose to partner with an employer of record (EOR). An EOR typically provides a range of services to help companies expand globally, including onboarding, taxes, benefits, payroll, immigration advice, and compliance. 

This guide will give you an overview of work permit and visa requirements in the Netherlands. It will also take you through how you can efficiently use an EOR like Remote to hire employees in the Netherlands, quickly and easily. 

Why is immigration compliance important in the Netherlands?

Each country has a particular set of regulations concerning employment. For instance, some countries require employees to have a residence permit, in addition to a work visa. In other countries, working under a tourist visa is illegal. Employers need to understand the nuances of employment law in the country of hiring and comply with local labor rules while hiring abroad.

If an employer does not adhere to immigration laws in the Netherlands or fails to secure the right work permit or visa, they could incur hefty fines or penalties, or even face jail time. With the rise of remote working and the digital nomad lifestyle, governments have been making labor laws more stringent and cracking down on individuals who don’t have the right documentation to work legally in the country.

Who needs a work authorization check in the Netherlands?

Dutch citizens and citizens of the EEA countries and Switzerland can work freely in the Netherlands without a work permit. However, if they want to stay in the Netherlands for longer than three months, they must hold either a visa or residence permit.

All other foreign nations (outside the EEA countries and Switzerland) require a work authorization check and a work permit to work in the country.

Your company will need to perform immigration checks and processes to verify if team members are authorized to work in the Netherlands. You’ll also have to sort out the right documents to make sure employees can legally work in the country.

Partner with Remote and save yourself the time and hassle of managing the relocation process on your own. Our expert team can check the employees’ credentials and eligibility, process the right work permits or visas, and manage the entire relocation process for you in compliance with Dutch immigration laws.

Get your Remote Relocation Guide

Learn how to simplify your planned relocation with this walkthrough guide. We outline the key steps for you and your employer to enable a compliant, efficient, and hassle-free move.

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Do non-citizens need a work visa or work permit in the Netherlands?

As mentioned, all foreign nationals who are non-citizens of the Netherlands, EEA, and Switzerland must get a work permit for employment

There are two types of work permits in the Netherlands.

  • Tewerkstellingsvergunning (TWV) — a regular work permit

  • Gecombineerde vergunning voor verblijf en arbeid (GVVA) — a permit that is a combined work and residence permit

Generally, foreign nationals arriving from outside the EEA countries and Switzerland can work in the Netherlands if the employer has issued their employees a TWV to work in the country.

This authorization is administered by Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen (UWV) — the Employment Insurance Agency. However, a work permit can only be granted by the authorities if specific requirements are met. For instance, the employer needs to prove that they cannot find a candidate for the position based in the EU. The criteria vary based on the category of employee that you wish to hire.

How is the Schengen Visa applicable?

A Schengen Visa allows for short-term entry into the Netherlands, but it is not a substitute for obtaining a full work permit. A valid residence permit must be acquired to legally undertake longer stays (beyond three months), which includes working or taking permanent residence in the country.

How is the European Union Blue Card applicable?

The European Union Blue Card is a work permit designed to facilitate immigration for non-EU citizens who possess highly skilled qualifications. The EU Blue Card is a valid work permit in the Netherlands work permit. It gives them the right to live and work in any EU country for up to four years provided they meet certain criteria.

Once an individual has secured an employment contract in any EU member country, including the Netherlands, they can apply for the EU Blue Card.

What are the eligibility requirements for a work visa in the Netherlands?

In general, you need to have an adequate level of education or professional experience relevant to the job or be a highly skilled migrant. Additionally, there needs to be evidence of your ability to financially and logistically (accommodation) support yourself while living and working in the country.

The specific Netherlands work visa requirements are as follows:

  • Firstly, there must be no priority roles that could have been filled by Dutch nationals or members of the EU/EEA (or Switzerland). 

  • Additionally, employers should demonstrate that they made a significant effort to source talent via ads and recruitment agencies.

  • If the job opportunity is considered damaging to the country’s interests, it may not be approved. 

  • The employer must stick to relevant employment laws in the Netherlands, including minimum wage requirements and favorable working conditions.

  • An existing/provisional residence permit must not have been withdrawn or refused before the work permit application process. Additionally, the foreign employee must submit various documentation such as passports and proof of a clean criminal record before the application can be processed.

What are the long-stay visa types in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands offers a long-term visa for internationals looking to stay longer than 90 days. Interested individuals may check how to apply based on their country of residence via an online tool

In addition, foreign nationals who wish to work in the Netherlands can apply for various types of Employment Visas: Highly Skilled Migrant scheme (HSM), Orientation Year Permit (OYP), and Scientific Research Visa (RU). Each one has specific requirements that must be met before applying.

An authorization for temporary stay — otherwise known as a Netherlands long-stay or Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf (MVV) visa (type D) — allows the holder to enter the Netherlands and wait for their Dutch residence permit application to be approved.

Depending on the employee’s country of origin, they may need both an MVV and a Dutch residence permit at once. Alternatively, you can apply for a residence permit within 90 days of setting foot in Holland itself. Like a Schengen visa, you can remain in the Netherlands with this type of document. Unlike the MVV, however, the Schengen Visa does not grant permission to apply for a residence permit.

You need a residence permit alongside an MVV if:

  • You are not a national of a European Union (EU) country, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, or Switzerland

  • You have a valid reason (called purpose of stay) for requesting the permit

Conversely, some foreign nationals do not need an MVV as long as they have a residence permit. This applies to citizens of:

  • Australia

  • Canada

  • Japan

  • Monaco

  • New Zealand

  • Vatican City

  • United States

  • South Korea

How do you get a work visa for the Netherlands?

To apply for a Netherlands work visa, you must attend an appointment at the Dutch mission (embassy or consulate) in your home country. If there isn't one within your nation, then find a neighboring Dutch mission. At this appointment, make sure to supply all relevant paperwork and documents. The requirements include:

  • A valid passport or travel document

  • Proof that your application information is accurate and up to date

  • No criminal convictions on record

  • Pass the mandatory tuberculosis test

  • Sufficient income declaration may also apply depending on the type of position

  • Recognition by government officials for employers engaging foreign workers for hire into jobs within The Netherlands

The entire process can take up to 90 days to complete.

At Remote, we are dedicated to providing end-to-end services for those looking to relocate their employees overseas. Our assistance goes beyond visa support and sponsorship. It includes local immigration advice, relocation guidance, settling into a new home country as well as alterations of insurance coverage if needed. We hope to make the process of transitioning abroad easier and smoother while ensuring all necessary regulations are followed via Remote’s Relocation service.

What is the process for employee work visa sponsorship in the Netherlands?

Employers can be acknowledged as a sponsor to employ highly skilled employees. This also includes individuals who are being paid for labor, taking on seasonal work, obtaining on-the-job training, undergoing intra-organizational relocation, or living with a European Blue Card.

Organizations must meet specific requirements to be eligible for recognition as a sponsor.

As you can see, Dutch immigration laws are complex, and it can be a hassle to understand and comply with labor rules while hiring abroad. Luckily, you can rely on Remote to make your life easier by supporting team members’ relocation quickly and easily. Our team of relocation specialists is dedicated to ensuring that the employees’ transition is as seamless as possible.

From verifying an individual's qualifications and generating required documents to onboarding them via our robust platform, we can assist you every step of the way. Learn more about how Remote can help you handle the process of employee relocation.

What are the visa requirements for digital nomads in the Netherlands?

There’s no specific digital nomad visa available to work in the Netherlands. However, self-employed individuals can apply for a residence permit for a self-employed person, which allows them to stay for more than 90 days in the country.

Why use an employer of record to hire in the Netherlands?

If you want to hire an employee in the Netherlands, you’ll have to do so via your own entity in the country.

Opening a new entity abroad can be an expensive and long-winded process. You not only have to understand local labor laws and ensuring ongoing compliance while hiring abroad, but you'll also have to establish systems to hire , manage and pay your workers.

That's why many companies choose to work with an EOR who can take on the legal responsibility and hassle of employing workers in the Netherlands and beyond. An EOR typically handles hiring, onboarding, benefits, taxes, payroll, immigration, and compliance with local employment laws.

Learn more about how you can use an EOR in the Netherlands to hire employees quickly and compliantly in our article below.

link to How to use an Employer of Record in the Netherlands
14 min

How to use an Employer of Record in the Netherlands

Learn how to use an EOR in the Netherlands and find out how an employer of record platform like Remote can make it easy to hire globally with full compliance.

Obtaining a visa or permit in the Netherlands can be a lengthy and complex process, so it is important to educate yourself on regulations and requirements beforehand. There are permanent establishment risks to consider, and failure to pay attention to local laws can lead to legal or financial penalties. 

But you don’t have to worry about these issues if you work with a trusted partner like Remote. 

At Remote, we offer a range of services to help with the relocation process, such as guidance on immigration laws, work permit and visa advice, international payroll support, and employee benefits — all while remaining compliant with local employment laws. Remote’s team of mobility specialists can help you:

  • Perform work eligibility and authorization checks, help with employee work visa sponsorship

  • Offer professional guidance and advice on immigration laws and regulations during the entire process

  • Gathering, processing, and ensuring the relevant documentation is not incorrect, missing, or outdated

  • Automatically extending or renewing work permits or visas as required 

  • Maintaining ongoing compliance with changing employment laws and tax practices.

Download our Relocation Guide for a treasure trove of guidance and advice on the employee relocation process. If you’re ready to start relocating employees, contact our expert team and get the process moving along today!

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