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All you need to know about Dutch work permits

Acquiring a Dutch work permit at IND

As an international job agency, we receive a lot of questions about work permits in The Netherlands. When do I need one? How can I get it? How long does it take? In this blog, we answer all these questions and more, based on high-quality information from the Dutch Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst (IND)

When do you need a Dutch work permit?

Since the establishment of the European Union (EU) in 1993, the free movement of workers has been a primary right for all European citizens. Thanks to this right, European citizens are allowed to work anywhere inside the EU without the need for a work permit. In fact, this rule has been in place since the 1960s, thanks to the ordinance (EEG) nr. 1612/68. People who can work without a work permit in The Netherlands are citizens from EU member states (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden), European Economic Area (EEA) member states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) and Switzerland. People who do not have a nationality from any of these countries will need a work permit in order to work in The Netherlands. 

How to get a Dutch work permit?

There are several ways in which to acquire a Dutch work permit. We’ll mention the most important ones. For more information on other possibilities, we refer you to the website of the IND.

1. Work as a highly skilled migrant

As a highly skilled migrant, you can apply for a suitable job with a Dutch company. If the employer is recognized by the IND, they can apply for a work permit for you. You will need to be especially skilled to be considered for work in such a position. Examples of highly skilled migrants include (guest) teachers, (scientific) researchers and doctors in training.

2. Acquire a European Blue Card

Highly educated employees from outside the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, may be able to acquire a European Blue Card. With a European Blue Card, you may work without a work permit for the employer who arranged a residence permit for you. In addition, you’re allowed to work on a self-employed basis. The requirements for the European Blue Card can be found on the IND website.

The European Blue Card has been implemented by Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France (incl. French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and La Reunion), Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands (excl. Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten + Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius), Norway

Austria, Poland, Portugal (incl. the Azores and Madeira), Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain (incl. the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands), Czech Republic, Iceland, and Sweden.

3. Seasonal work in agriculture

If you’re planning to work for a maximum of 24 weeks in the agricultural sector, you or your employer can apply for a seasonal combined work and residence permit (also called a single permit). For more information on this topic, we refer you to this page of the IND website.

How long does it take to get a Dutch work permit?

Once your form is submitted and the fees are paid, the IND will process your request. The IND is legally allowed to take up to 90 days before coming to a conclusion. You can check the status of your application by calling the IND (+31 88 0430 430) between 9:00-17:00, Monday to Friday. If your application is approved, you or your employer will receive a letter of confirmation.

Can EU-People get a work permit for me?

Due to the high-speed nature of our recruiting process, we are unable to help you get a Dutch work permit. At EU-People, we work with a high turnover of job offers. Once we receive a request for employees, we aim to fill the position within a week or so. As such, we are unable to wait for the legally permitted response time of the IND (90 days). If you have a special skill or high education, you may want to apply directly with a Dutch company in your field. You could also try for seasonal work at a company or agency that is active in the agricultural sector.

Red flag: Pay-for-permit schemes

When applying for a work permit, there are some fees involved. Those fees are paid directly to the IND, either by you or your employer (depending on the situation). Unfortunately, some swindlers may offer you a Dutch work permit if you pay them a (large) sum of money. Do not trust such schemes! They are illegal and it’s impossible to acquire a valid Dutch work permit simply by paying money. There are many other factors that need to be complied with, and everything happens directly between the IND and your employer.

Summing up

People with nationalities from outside the EU, EEU, or Switzerland need a permit to work in The Netherlands. There are many ways to get a Dutch work permit, such as working as a highly skilled migrant worker, acquiring a European Blue Card, or performing seasonal work in agriculture. Once the application is sent and fees are paid, the IND has a legal response time of up to 90 days. Watch out for pay-for-permit schemes! It’s impossible to acquire a legal Dutch work permit simply by paying money.

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