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Work Permit

EU citizens
People from another EU country or from the European Economic Area (except for the new EU countries Bulgaria and Romania) do not need a work permit to be able to work in The Netherlands. 
Citizens of Bulgaria and Romania 

Citizens of Bulgaria and Romania are not able to work in the Netherlands free of restrictions. In most cases, an employer still needs to ask the Dutch employment authorities (CWI) for a tewerkstellingsvergunning (the right to work) for such a candidate.

Non-EU citizens
In general, all non-EU citizens will be required to have a work permit if they want to work in The Netherlands. Work permits in the Netherlands are employer and job-specific. Only the employer can apply for it.

Before an employer can apply for a Dutch work permit for a non-EEA national, it is normally necessary to show that attempts have been made to fill the position from the local and EEA labor markets. These attempts should include advertising in national newspapers, websites, industry publications, etc. However, the CWI will run searches for EU nationals with the appropriate skills by using the European Employment Services placement network (EURES). Usually Dutch employers should also have looked into training existing employees. Once the work permit is lodged, the application should usually take no more than 5 weeks to be processed. The CWI uses a restrictive policy in issuing work permits.

If a work permit is required, your visa and/or residence permit application will depend on the issuing of the work permit. We therefore advice you not to plan your travel after the work permit has been approved.

For a couple of years now, The Netherlands have several residence statuses that allow people to enter, reside, and work without the requirement of a work permit. See for more information the paragraph Residence Permits.

After three years of residing in The Netherlands on a regular residence permit, it is often possible for an individual to obtain a residence status with which you are free to take up any lawful employment and no longer require an employer-sponsored work permit.

Students from outside the EEA will also need a work permit if they want to work beside there study. Such a work permit is generally not difficult to obtain for an employer if the student meets the following conditions:


  • The student has a valid residence permit for the purpose of studying in The Netherlands
  • The work is restricted to (full-time) seasonal work in the months of June, July and August or part-time work throughout the year, but no more than 10 hours a week (You cannot do both.)

You can find more information about working in The Netherlands in the brochure Work permits for foreign personnel.

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