KNOWLEDGE BASE Hiring And Work Permit Options
Hiring and Work Permit Options in the Netherlands
With expert input from Michele Bar-Pereg of RelocateYourself
Of course, you want to find and hire the best talent to help you grow your business, and there are several different options available to you for expanding your workforce in the Netherlands. Each has its own considerations, including applicable employment laws and regulations. If you want to jump into Employment Law first, you can get an overview of the regulations that will govern your employer-employee relations. The first decision you need to make is whether to bring your employees from home or hire employees in the Netherlands. Below you will find a discussion and the resources to determine your permit requirements if you decide to bring your workforce (all or part) with you to the Netherlands and the resources to help you hire local talent if you decide to hire employees in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is modern, western, has great health services, and has everything international including business, theater, concerts, and the added attraction that nearly every single person speaks English. Any employee you send to the country will enjoy a great place to live and when hiring locally, it will be very easy in the Netherlands to find staff who speak English. That being said, the cost of living and taxes are very high for expatriates. Any company sending employees will need to take into consideration how much it will cost for their employees to live in the Netherlands.
Bringing your employees with you
For many companies, having current employees from their home office move abroad to open a new market is the preferred approach for setting up overseas. Those employees can transfer the company culture and their experience to a new foreign office, set up the office, and hire the first team abroad. Employees from home can begin to establish the important relationships in the Netherlands and hire people in the Netherlands who will help make the business a success.
If you are sending someone from your headquarters, here are some tips from RelocateYourself to increase your - and your employee's - success:
Keep your employees involved in the move as much as possible
Make sure they keep in contact with your home office. They will gain invaluable experience that you can benefit from
Have good policies set up around people going abroad
Pick people who have an open mind for other cultures and a general cultural awareness
Nearly everyone in the Netherlands speaks English, including doctors. A person can go to the Netherlands speaking English
Foreigners can get insurance, though the head office will have to apply for it
Most communities have international schools where children can learn in Engish, though they are more expensive than local schools. Many Dutch schools are bilingual and are an option for expat children
Taxes are very high and you'll have to make sure that compensation can support living in an expensive country
There are high fees for second cars, but transportation options abound, including trains, buses, and trams. The Netherlands is a country of bikes and many people use them for transportation
If you are sending someone with kids, there are many international schools to consider for expats and for the Dutch themselves to send their children. The international schools are expensive, but even Dutch schools are often bilingual
If you hire a foreigner (non-Dutch) who is already living in the Netherlands or elsewhere in the EU, understand that they are still subject to the high cost of living. You may have to compensate them as expats rather than hiring them with local benefits
Permit requirements in the Netherlands
Of course, if you are sending or bringing someone from outside the Netherlands, it's very possible you, the company, or the employee will be required to apply for a permit. We've summarized the most common business and employment permits below.
Keep in mind, residence and employment permit requirements vary depending on the person’s country of citizenship. Also, many employment permit options require that the employer applies for (sponsor) employee permits.
What employment and residence permits are available?
EEA and Swiss Nationals
Citizens from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals can work in the Netherlands without an employment permit. For now, Croatian nationals must still have an employment permit to work in the Netherlands.
Workers outside the EEA
To protect its citizens, there are only specific situations in which an employer can hire someone from outside the EEA. An employer can hire an employee from outside the EEA if:
the employer cannot find a suitable candidate from an EEA country;
the vacancy has been open for at least five weeks; and
the employer has taken all available steps to find an employee from the Netherlands or the EEA.
With few exceptions, all foreign nationals from outside the EEA and Switzerland must apply for a combined residence and employment permit (GVVA) if they intend to work and live in the Netherlands for longer than three months. The foreign national or his employer must apply for this combined permit through the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). The IND generally issues residence permits, while the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) issues employment permits.
Foreign employees or their employers must apply for a single permit that combines a residence permit and a work permit on their behalf. The exception to this single permit is intra-company transfers, which require that employers submit two separate applications, one with the UWV for an employment permit and one with the IND for a residence permit.
Highly Skilled Migrant
A highly skilled migrant permit (MVV) is available to highly skilled migrants who are going to the Netherlands to work as highly skilled employees. Only a recognized employer (sponsor) can apply for a skilled migrant employee.
If you want to set up a business in the Netherlands, you must apply for a residence permit as an entrepreneur and be granted permission to set up your business in the Netherlands. To qualify, your business must serve an essential Dutch interest.
What are the risks of noncompliance?
If you are in the Netherlands illegally, you face the risk of being issued an entry ban, which bans you from entry to the Netherlands and a number of other European countries. Entry bans range from 1 year to 20 years, with a 1 year ban imposed for a stay of only three days over your permit.
Hiring Local Talent
In the Netherlands, you have different options for hiring local talent, including: hiring your own employees (full-time, part-time, and fixed-term), hiring through an agency, and hiring freelancers, consultants, and contractors. Your responsibilities as an employee will vary depending on the type of contract you have with your employees.
For more detail about your responsibilities and your employees’ employment rights and entitlements, see the Employment Law section.
Hiring your own employees
You may be required to look for Dutch or EEA nationals before you can look for nationals of other countries. Hiring your own employees in a foreign country can be a daunting task. You will want to target the right candidates and not have too narrow a pool of applicants. Consider looking for employees in the following places:
local schools or colleges;
local newspapers; and
online recruitment, such as job websites and social media.
Where do jobseekers look for jobs in the Netherlands? To find employees in the Netherlands, you may need to put yourself in the shoes of the jobseekers. Here are some places to find jobs in the Netherlands.
The UWV WERKbedrijf is a public employment service and with a network of partner sites and employment agencies. There are branches in Amsterdam where you can get advice and information as well as look for a job. It also has an online database of vacancies, which you can search by postcode (only available in Dutch).
EURES (European Employment Service): If you are from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, you can look for a job in the Netherlands through the EURES website. EURES is a job portal that is maintained by the European Commission. It was designed to aid in the principle of free movement within the EEA.
You can use a recruitment agency to help you hire permanent or temporary employees in the Netherlands. Many recruitment agencies specialize in a particular industry or sector, such as IT, finance, retail, etc. Recruitment agencies are generally well connected. If you use a recruitment agency, some of the responsibilities you have under Dutch law may be transferred to the agency.
Freelancers, consultants, and contractors
In the Netherlands you are permitted to hire freelancers, consultants, and contractors. Your obligations for hiring freelancers, consultants, or contractors may be different than your obligations to employees. The Dutch government created this step-by-step guide to outsourcing work, that is hiring contractors, subcontractors, and self-employed entrepreneurs, etc.
When making the decision to send employees abroad or to bring employee with you abroad, you should understand all applicable immigration requirements. Because you may have more than one visa option available to you or your employee(s), we strongly recommend that you work with a visa agency that can help you complete your visa needs in the most cost effective and timely manner. Furthermore, you should know your obligations with regard to looking for Dutch or EEA nationals before looking for employees from outside the Netherlands and the EEA. There are many ways to find great local talent in the Netherlands.
Step-by-step guide for bringing employees to the Netherlands to work
Step-by-step guide to outsourcing work
KNOWLEDGE BASE Hiring And Work Permit Options