Permits You Need to Work in the Netherlands

A lot of students choose to work alongside their studies to gain experience as well as make some money. Working in the Netherlands might require you to have a work permit. Whether or not you need work permits largely depends on your nationality and resident status. Additionally, your reasoning for staying in the Netherlands (like being a full-time student) will also determine what sort of authorisation you need to work. Do you think you need a work permit? Read on to find out.

Image of documents needed for work permitDo I need a work permit?

If you are a resident of the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you do not need a residence permit or work permit (if you are from Croatia, you need a permit for your first year in Holland). This also goes for citizens of Japan; you’ll need a residence permit, but not a work permit.

If you aren’t a national of any of these countries, i.e. not from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you will need a work permit. This is called a tewerkstellingsvergunning (TWV). You might need a combined residence and employment permit (a GVVA), if you want to work in Holland for longer than 3 months.

Work permits for students

As a student, you can work, however there are restrictions for non-EU/EEA nationals. You are only allowed to work for a maximum of 10 hours per week, but full-time in June, July and August. In either case, you will need a work permit. If you are an EU/EEA national, there are no restrictions to how many hours or when you can work. But remember: if you are an EU/EEA student you still need to register at a Dutch municipality!

How can I qualify for one?

As a current student, your employer needs to apply for a working permit for you.

As a recent graduate with a Bachelor or Master’s degree from a Dutch educational institution, you can get an ‘orientation year residence permit’ within 3 years of your graduation. This allows you to live in Holland for another year in order to work. During this year, you can work without work permits and without any restrictions. Your employer can apply for this orientation permit for you, if you:

  • Have a PhD programme that lasted at least 12 months;
  • Graduated with a Master’s or PhD degree from a programme that lasted at least 12 months, from an approved foreign institution;
  • Work as a researcher with a Dutch resident permit or with a highly skilled migrant residence permit;
  • Completed the Dutch development aid policy programme;
  • Did an Erasmus Mundus Master’s course;
  • Underwent a programme under the Law of Specific Culture Policy.

At end of the year an application can be put in for another work permit if you wish to stay in Holland.

Image of student working with work permitWhen can I start working?

As soon as you have received your residence permit with work authorization, if you don’t need a separate work permit, you can start working. If you need a separate work permit, you need to wait for it to be approved.

When you have been working in the Netherlands for over 5 years, you can obtain a permanent residence status. If you have this, you will not need a work permit to work for Dutch employers.

How do I apply?

Your employer must apply for a permit for you through the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).

To apply, you’ll need to meet some requirements and your permit can only be given to you under these circumstances. You must:

  • Make sure your passport is valid.
  • Have sufficient financial means, whether this comes from you or student finance.
  • Not be a danger to the public or national security.
  • Make sure your tuition fees are paid. You can find out more about tuition fees here.
  • Show your proof of enrolment in your Dutch university or higher educational institution, or that you are doing an internship.

The application process can take around 3 to 6 months.

Image of applying for work permits

In conclusion, you should always make sure to check whether or not you need work permits. Different work permits are suitable for various types of employment statuses. In some cases, you need to have a work permit or you legally cannot work.