Work Permits

Unless you are a European National, or closely related to a European National, you will be required to have a work permit to be employed in the Netherlands.

Residence permits with the stated purpose of employment depend on the existence of an actual employment relationship. Dutch work permits are typically employer and job-specific. In general, employers are responsible for submitting applications on behalf of their foreign employees. In the case of an employment based residence permit, your visa and residence permit application will depend on the issuing of the work permit.

Self-employed foreigners are also required to have work permits. American citizens who are self employed have special benefits under the Dutch American Friendship Treaty (DAFT). Please see Dutch American Friendship Treaty or contact us at for more specific advice.

Dutch policy requires that employers seeking work permits for foreign workers demonstrate that the candidate is qualified to fill a position that has unsuccessfully been advertised in the Netherlands or which is subject to recognised shortages. An exemption to the work permit requirement has been made for Highly Skilled Migrants. A description of the benefits and qualifications of Highly Skilled Migrants can be found here.

There are various types of work permits, both short and long-term. Work permits can be requested for a specified time period, usually with a maximum of one year. After five years employees are normally entitled to a residence permit stating that they are “permitted to work,” which means they are free to work without a work permit.

It is of the greatest importance that a foreign employee subject to the work permit requirement does not work in the Netherlands until the work permit has been issued. Under current immigration regulations (effective date: 7 October 2015) an employer can be fined EUR 8,000 for each employee on the work site without proper authorization.

De Vreede Immigration Law specializes in successfully preparing work permit applications. We can get you fast results and help you avoid unnecessary delays. Our services to employers include all aspects of permit application preparation, assisting with the necessary registrations when the employee arrives in the Netherlands and compliance with immigration regulations.

If you are an employer of foreign employees or you would like to find out if you qualify for a work permit please contact us at

P.O. Box 15835, 1001 NH  Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Tel: +31(0)20 675 7312  | Fax: +31(0)20 2581 701 | | Header picture by Iwan Baan