Immigration. Travel. Living.

Netherlands: work permit obtaining

Work permit - Netherlands

Employment of foreign citizens in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as in many other countries, is possible only if there are no workers of the required qualifications in the country or from the countries of the European Union on the Dutch labor market. The Law “On Employment of Foreigners” requires the employer to documentarily prove the absence in this case of the necessary labor force in the Netherlands (or from the EU member states) or the professional value of a foreign citizen to perform the relevant work.

When hiring workers, employers are obliged to give priority to candidates in the following order:

  • Dutch citizens, EU citizens, and their family members;
  • citizens of EU candidate countries;
  • family members of citizens of EU candidate countries if they are already in the Netherlands;
  • citizens of countries outside the EU / EEA, permanently residing in the Kingdom of the Netherlands and their family members if they are already in the Netherlands, except for persons who have applied for refugee status;
  • citizens of countries outside the EU / EEA.

The instrument governing entry into the Netherlands for employment is the work permit.

The legislation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands does not provide for any difference in the issuance of work permits for qualified and non-qualified personnel. But in practice, the bulk of permits are issued for hiring highly qualified workers (for example, IT specialists), since it is these specialists that the labor market of the Kingdom of the Netherlands lacks.

A work permit can be issued to a foreign citizen, subject to the availability of a specific job offer, the availability of the necessary professional skills, qualifications, professional training, health status, work experience with a foreign worker, as well as a lack of qualified specialists in the industry of the future employment of a foreigner.

In the Netherlands, there are no work quotas in the work permit system. The initiative in obtaining a work permit must come from the employer, who makes a corresponding request to the regional employment service, presenting the details and conditions of the work contract. To satisfy the application, it is necessary to prove that it is not possible to hire employees in the Netherlands or EU countries, as well as prove why the selected candidate is such a valuable worker, and why he is preferred over citizens / permanent residents of the Kingdom of the Netherlands or candidates from EU countries.

One of the main requirements is that the vacancy must be registered with the employment office five weeks before the application is submitted. When deciding on the issuance of such a permit, the situation in the Dutch labor market at the time of application is taken into account. A work permit is required for non-EU / EEA nationals if they intend to work in the Netherlands for more than three months.

Persons wishing to work in the Netherlands must first obtain a residence permit (MVV: Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf) at the diplomatic mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the country of its permanent registration.

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To successfully obtain an MVV visa, the Applicant must have documents confirming the offer of a real job in the Netherlands (draft employment contract and a letter from the employer).

For citizens of the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, it is not necessary to obtain an MVV visa, they must meet the requirements that are provided by the Immigration Employment Office of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

A work permit can be issued for a period not exceeding three years with the possibility of renewal. If upon arrival in the Netherlands, the foreign worker wishes to change employers, the new employer must apply to the relevant authorities for a new permit.


Everyone officially working in the Netherlands must have a personal “Burgerservicenummer” (BSN) or “Sofi number”. “Burgerservicenummer” (BSN) is the identification number of a foreign citizen. The registration number assigned to a foreign citizen staying in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for more than 4 months and wishing to carry out any financial transaction in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or to be involved in any legal process, but who is not a resident of the Netherlands. This number is issued by the municipality at the place of residence of the foreign citizen.

“Sofi number” (social security number) – if your stay in the Netherlands does not exceed 4 months, you cannot register with the municipality. Hence, you cannot get BSN. In this case, after obtaining your residence and work permit, you will need to contact your local tax police to obtain your personal “sofi number” (social security number).

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