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Work Permit

Most people must obtain a work permit before starting work. Your employer must apply for you to obtain a work permit from the UWV Werkbedrijf (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemers Verzekeringen), which is the office for re-integration, unemployment benefits, etc. (formerly Centre of Work and Income). Exceptions include those working for International Organizations, such as the International Court and the European Space Agency, where the organization takes care of all necessary paperwork, and citizens of the European Union. Highly skilled migrants are also exempted.

According to the Foreign Nationals Employment Act (Wet Arbeid Vreemdelingen or WAV) employers must first recruit in the Netherlands and other EU countries. In most cases, employers must show that no qualified Dutch or EU nationals are available to fill the vacancy. They must advertise for at least five weeks prior to filling the application. Persons seeking work permits must be between the ages of 18-45.  

The maximum length of a work permit is three years. People who have had work permits for three consecutive years and who have not moved their residence outside the Netherlands since then, become exempt from the work permit requirement. Their residence permits can be endorsed with a note stating “Employment freely permitted” and “No work permit required”. 

If the residence permit is not approved (for example, if the IND discovers that the applicant has a criminal record), the work permit is automatically withdrawn when the residence permit is denied. 

If you are allowed to work in the Netherlands, then your spouse/partner is usually allowed to work as well.

For assistance, check out our IWCN Service Partners!