We get many questions about how to obtain a work permit for The Netherlands. We decided to dedicate a page to the work permit issue. Here we will try to explain all work permit options for The Netherlands as clearly as possible. In case of any doubt, or further questions, you should always contact the IND (Dutch immigration authority). You can check the Residence Wizard menu item to check in which category you fit. The CWI (UWV) (www.werk.nl) can provide more info on work permits specifically, and provides information for foreign job seekers in various languages on their site.
Work permit Netherlands: rules and possibilities categorized
When looking for a job in The Netherlands, you will fall into one of the following categories, with the work permit rules and possibilities explained briefly per category:
You are a national of one of the EU/EEA countries (listed at the bottom of this page): you can travel and work freely throughout the EU including The Netherlands, no work permit required. After arriving The Netherlands, you'll have to register at the municipality where you live within 3 months and you'll have to apply for a BSN-number (formerly SoFi-number). Without this number you cannot work. You can get this number through the municipality if you have a fixed adress, but also if you haven't got an adress yet through an appointment at the nearest Tax Office (there are several support points throughout the country. For more info from the Tax Office, phone: 0800-0543 (Dutch spoken!). In any case you'll have to be able to have a fixed adress and the means to support yourself within 3 months.
Important note: As of januari 1st 2014, nationals of Bulgaria and Romania are also allowed to travel to, and work freely in, The Netherlands. There is no exception anymore for Bulgaria and Romania.
You are a national from any country outside the EU/EEA: you will need formal permission to work one way or the other before we can assist you, a work permit is required. The options are (generally):
You are a student. Your Residency Card will state that you have permission to work max. 10 hours per week or 2 months during the summer holiday period. We don't offer jobs that fall into that category however, you should try a (student) temping agency. Employers still need to file for work permission ("tewerkstellingsvergunning").
You have a partner that lives and works in The Netherlands (expat). As a partner you can be granted permission to work and it will state so on your Residency Card ("Arbeid vrij toegestaan. ..." ). If so, we can assist you, but only if the permission is already formally granted.
You've been in The Netherlands for some time and granted permission to stay and to work. For example because you're married to a Dutch citizen or a because you're former refugee granted indefinite permission to stay. Your Residency Card will state that you have permission to work ("Arbeid vrij toegestaan. ..."). If so, we can assist you, but only if the permission is already formally granted.
You want to relocate to The Netherlands for employment, you're higly skilled and under 30 years of age. An employer can arrange a Work Permit for you if your skills and experience are relatively unique and the salary level will be above € 38.466,- (Skilled Migrant status). This is usually only the case if you have a higher educational level (BA/Bsc minimum), some years of work experience and a specialization in for example IT, engineering or science. If so, we can assist you, but it will be a bit harder to find employers willing to go through the necessary procedures.
You want to relocate to The Netherlands for employment, you're higly skilled and above 30 years of age. An employer can arrange a Work Permit for you if your skills and experience are relatively unique and the salary level will be above € 52.463,- (Skilled Migrant status). This is usually only the case if you have a higher educational level (BA/Bsc minimum), many years of work experience and a specialization in for example IT, engineering or science. If so, we can assist you, but it will be a bit harder to find employers willing to go through the procedures.
You're a national of Canada, Australia or New Zealand and between 18 and 30 years of age. You can apply for the Working Holiday Scheme in your own country, which will grant you the right to live an work in The Netherlands for 1 year without a salary criterium, as long as you can maintain yourself financially. We can assist you if the WHS is already arranged, but finding jobs for a period of 1 year or less is relatively difficult.
You are a Graduate student at a Dutch educational institution, on BA/Bsc level or higher. You can apply yourself for a so called Search Year ("zoekjaar") which will grant you permission to work in The Netherlands for 1 year without any salary criterium. However, within this period you'll have to find a job that will meet a lowered salary criterium (€ 27,566,-) in order to extend your stay as a "skilled migrant". You can apply for the Search Year after formal graduation but it can take 2 - 3 months before the permission is issued. We can assist you, but the application for the Search Year has to be arranged by yourself. Employers do NOT have to arrange a work permission ("tewerkstellingsvergunning"), this makes it easier.
You have graduated at MA/Msc or Phd level at a top-150 university worldwide, within the last 3 years. You can apply for the highly educated ruling ( "regeling hoogopgeleide") which will grant you permission to work in The Netherlands for 1 year without a salary criterium as with the search year above. However, within this period you'll have to find a job that will meet a lowered salary criterium (€ 27.566,-) in order to extend your stay as a "skilled migrant". The top-150 is derived from one of the 2 lists: QS World University Rankings or the ARWU of the Jiao Tong University of Shanghai. We can assist you, but the application for the ruling has to be arranged by yourself. In any case, employers still have to file for work permission on your behalf ("tewerkstellingsvergunning").
You don't fall in any of the above mentioned categories. We will unfortunately not be able to assist you. You will not get a work permit for The Netherlands. However be sure to check with the IND.
In all cases in which an employer has to file for a work permit ("tewerkstellingsvergunning"), it will be a complicating factor. For skilled migrants and recent graduates the procedures are fast (a matter of weeks rather then months), but still many employers may not be willing to go through all the paperwork to arrange the work permit.
Important additional information:
There is no such thing as a European work permit and work permits for other EU/EER countries are NOT valid in The Netherlands. The European Blue Card has recently been introduced but the specific Dutch rules are easier to follow and meet.
A work permit obtained through an employer ("tewerkstellingsvergunning") is only valid for that specific employer and the specific job you're hired for. It's NOT a general work permit.
We (or any other recruitment agency) can not arrange work permits ourselves (we will not be your employer), and we can not assist in applying for work permits, Search Year or Skilled Migrant status. We can only provide information as mentioned above. Contact the IND for further information.
EU & EEA countries - Work permit for The Netherlands not required
Countries whose nationals have the right to work in The Netherlands without a work permit:
We have been very thorough and cautious in selecting and representing the information above. However we can not be held accountable for any mistakes or ommissions. Futhermore the full set of rules, regulations and applicable law is much more extensive and complex then what is described here. Therefore it is very important to always check with the IND to gain certainty about your situation and applicable legislation and rulings. Thanks.