Self-employed in the Netherlands: non-EU/EEA edition

Let's face it, we could all use a little bit of extra money now and then, right? That's why many of us decide to get a (first) side-job during our time at uni, in order to maintain a bit of a comfortable lifestyle. Luckily, Rotterdam has many student jobs to offer, but what if you're a non-EU/EEA member? That's when many students feel like they hit a wall. Luckily, in recent times, the Netherlands has made great efforts to offer new possibilities to you non-EU/EEA's out there. This article will give you a break down on the new updated regulations regarding student jobs and being self-employed as a non-EU/EEA member in the Netherlands!

freelance worker self-employed

From 10 hours to 16 hours

In the past, non-EU/EEA students were only allowed to have part-time jobs consisting of up to 10 hours a week. Since this year however, those students are allowed to work up to 16 hours a week! Although being allowed to work more hours per week, the regulations regarding work-permits and such remain unchanged. A non-EU/EEA member will still have to obtain a work permit, which the employer can apply for.

Regarding full time-employment during the summer months (June-July-August) the regulations also remain unchanged. For more information, visit the Dutch organization for internationalization in education's website.

Self-employed as a non-EU/EEA student

So what if you would like to work on the side, but you don't want to be dependent of a fixed employer? You have a specific talent, such as writing or photography, and you would like to profit a bit from it? However, you're a non-EU/EEA member, so you think your chances are very thin to obtain a work permit as a self-employed student. You could not be any more wrong! Since 2017, the Dutch government has allowed non-EU/EEA students to become self-employed students. This allows them to perform side-jobs as freelancers, with an unlimited amount of hours.

Simply put, if you perform certain tasks, for several employers, you can register yourself at the chamber of commerce (KVK). For example, you are very good at building websites, so you decide to make some money off of it. You can simply register yourself at the chamber of commerce as a self-employed student, and there you go. The next step for you is to, whenever you perform a job for an employer, to simply send them an invoice. That's all there is to it!

If you decide to go for this entrepreneurial trajectory, make sure to regularly consult an accountant. This will allow you to focus on your own activities, while never missing legal deadlines set by the tax authorities.

A short summary

Below you can find a short summary in bullet points with everything you need to know:

  • non-EU/EEA students can work up to 16 hours a week (part-time) instead of 10
  • work permits for side jobs will still be required, which can be applied for by the employer
  • non-EU/EEA students can now become freelancers, with an unlimited amount of hours
  • in order to become a freelance-based, self-employed student, you can simply register at the chamber of commerce
  • tax bracket and VAT at the end of the year are required for all freelance-based, self-employed individuals

In case you would still have some questions, make sure to visit the chamber of commerce's website or call 088 585 1 585 and press "1".


You enjoyed reading this article but would like to read more about working in the Netherlands as a student, or how to boost your career? Then make sure to visit our career section in our magazine  or our dedicated jobs section!

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