If you want to hire foreign workers in the Netherlands, there are multiple requirements you must fulfill.
Failing to comply with applicable laws and regulations can be heavily penalized by the Dutch authorities.
However, navigating through red tape and legal procedures can be overwhelming and confusing.
This guide will give you an overview of the application process and what you need to know when hiring non-EU workers in the Netherlands.
How to Hire Foreign Workers in the Netherlands
The regulations governing the authorization of foreign individuals to work in the Netherlands are outlined in the Foreign Nationals Employment Act (Wet Arbeid Vreemdelingen).
Citizens from EU countries are free to work and live in the Netherlands without the need to apply for a work visa or permit. On the other hand, non-EU nationals must hold a valid permit in order to legally reside and work in the country.
Pursuant to the Foreign Nationals Employment Act, it is illegal for Dutch employers to employ individuals from outside the EU without valid authorization.
Companies who do not comply with this requirement risk a fine of €8,000 for each illegal worker they employ.
Read on to find out the exact steps you need to take when hiring non-EU workers and what are your obligations as a sponsor.
Step 1: Check If You Need to Become a Recognized Sponsor
When hiring foreign workers in the Netherlands, you automatically become their sponsor. However, if you’re looking to employ highly skilled migrants and researchers under Directive (EU) 2016/801, then you must become a recognized sponsor.
As a recognized sponsor, you can benefit from faster processing times.
Additionally, you can benefit from an array of services available through the online Business Portal. These services include viewing the status of your submitted applications, registering and de-registering an employee, etc.
To apply for recognition as a sponsor, your company must meet certain criteria, such as:
- Being registered in the Commercial Register in the Netherlands (Handelsregister) unless otherwise stated in the Commercial Register Act 2007
- Showing evidence of the company’s continuity and financial stability
- Adhering to the relevant Code of Conduct
You must submit the application to the IND by post. The IND will take approximately 90 days to process it.
For small businesses with 50 employees or less, the application fee is € 2,162. For larger businesses, the application fee is €4,326.
Step 2: Conduct a Labor Market Test
Before employing foreign workers in your company, you must advertise the position to Dutch and EU nationals. A labor market test allows you to prove to the Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, UWV) that no Dutch or EU citizens are available to fill the position.
This is because local companies must give priority to employees who do not need a visa or permit to be able to work in the Netherlands.
To complete the labor market test, you need to advertise the position with the UWV Public Employment Service (Werkbedrijf) for at least 5 weeks.
For hard-to-fill positions, this period can be extended to three months. In this case, the UWV will assess whether a position is hard to fill.
If no local workers are available, then you can proceed with the employment of foreign workers.
Of course, before taking any further steps, you must source potential candidates through dedicated websites or recruitment platforms such as VideoWorkers.
Once you’ve tracked down the perfect blend of talent and expertise, you must provide them with a work contract that must be signed by both parties.
Important note: For specialty chefs in Asian restaurants, the labor market test requirements does not apply.
Hiring Asian Chefs in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, there is a shortage of Asian cooks. That’s why the Government has implemented measures to simplify the hiring of such workers.
As we mentioned before, the Asian catering industry regulation allows you to hire non-EU specialty chefs (at levels 4 to 6) without the need to find candidates in the EU first.
You must submit the application to the IND.
However, as an employer, you must still apply for a work and residence permit on behalf of your employee.
To learn more about the application process and requirements, please refer to https://inls.nl/asian-catering.
Step 3: Check the Type of Visa and Work Permit Your Future Employee Must Obtain
The length of employment determines whether your prospective employee needs a short-stay visa or a work permit.
More specifically, if the employee comes to work in the Netherlands for a period of up to 90 days, they will need a Schengen Visa and a work permit (Tewerkstellingsvergunning, TWV).
On the other hand, if the employee comes to work in the Netherlands for a period longer than 90 days, they will need a combined residence and work permit (Gecombineerde vergunning voor verblijf en arbeid, GVVA). Depending on their nationality, they might also need an MVV which is the Dutch National Visa (type D). This visa type is also known as an authorization for temporary stay.
The application for an MVV and a residence permit can be submitted at the same time.
Now, let’s have a quick rundown of each of these visas and work permits.
Schengen Visa for Employment Purposes
Workers who come to the Netherlands for a maximum of 90 days must apply for a short-stay work visa (Schengen Visa). All countries within the Schengen Area issue this visa type.
The Schengen Visa application process for employment purposes is relatively straightforward.
Your prospective employee will need to book an appointment at the Dutch Embassy in their country of residence. For detailed guidance on the Schengen visa application process, please consult this article.
Additionally, please keep in mind that this visa category requires you to apply for a work permit (Tewerkstellingsvergunning, TWV).
Netherlands Residence and Work Permit
The combined residence and work permit (Gecombineerde vergunning voor verblijf en arbeid, GVVA) is necessary for workers who will be working in the Netherlands for a period of longer than 90 days.
They might also need authorization for temporary stay or MVV. This is also known as the procedure for “Entry and Residence” (TEV).
The application for an MVV and a residence permit can be submitted at the same time by either:
- A sponsor in the Netherlands (the employer)
- The prospective employee who is residing abroad
However, it is more common for employers to submit a GVVA and MVV application.
Please note that the MVV requirement does not apply to certain countries. These countries include Australia, Canada, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Vatican City, UK, US, South Korea, Switzerland, and EU/EEA Member States.
You can find the list of all MVV exceptions here.
Step 4: Apply for a TWV or a GVVA
As we mentioned before, applications for a GVVA can be made by both workers and employers. However, for a TWV, only the employer can initiate the application process.
Do note that TWV and GVVA applications are processed under the exact same conditions.
As an employer, you must apply for a TWV online through the UWV. To log in to the UWV, you will need eHerkenning with confidence level EH3. The UWV will process your application within 5 weeks.
On the other hand, applications for a GVVA must be submitted by post through the IND. The application for a GVVA costs €350, and the processing time is 90 days.
When applying for a TWV or GVVA, you will generally have to submit the following documents:
- Copies of the worker’s passport
- Educational diplomas
- Professional licenses
- Proof of a clean criminal record
- Health insurance
- Proof of sufficient financial means as of January 1, 2023
- Information about the company, employment conditions, and recruiting process
- Sponsorship declaration form (for non-recognized sponsors)
- Proof of Dutch proficiency (for regulated professions such as demolition/removal of asbestos or hoisting/lifting machines)
The documents you must submit for a GVVA application are listed in the application form, which is only available in Dutch. You can download the application form here.
Upon approval of your work permit, your employee is permitted to work in the Netherlands as specified in the employment contract.
Do note that if your prospective employee must hold an MVV, they must collect the visa at the Dutch embassy or consulate within 3 months.
Hiring Foreign Workers in the Netherlands: Summing Up
To work in the Netherlands, non-EU nationals generally need a valid visa and work/residence permit.
If you plan on hiring migrant workers for a period of less than 90 days, you must apply for a TWV work permit through the UWV. The worker must also obtain a Schengen Visa for work purposes from the competent Dutch Embassy or Consulate.
On the other hand, hiring foreign workers in the Netherlands for a period longer than 90 days means that you must apply for a combined residence and work permit (GVVA). Together with the GVVA application, you may also need to submit an application for authorization of temporary stay (MVV).
If you need further information on how to employ migrant workers in the Netherlands, head over to the Customer Service Section of the IND (in Dutch).
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