Work Permit

If you want to hire foreign employees from outside the EEA or Switzerland, you will in most cases need to apply for a work permit. It is the responsibility of the employer to apply for it if the employee is unable to do this.


When is the employer exempted from applying for a work permit?

  • In a number of cases, employees from outside the EEA or from the new EU member states Croatia are not required to have a work permit.
  • Foreigners who have a residence permit that states permitted to work. These are often foreigners living in the Netherlands under the family reunification scheme, refugees who have been given entry, and people who have had a residence permit for three years that allows them to perform work without a work permit.
  • Foreigners who have a sticker in their passport stating 'permitted to work'. This sticker is valid for a limited period. The period of validity is stated on the sticker.
  • Foreigners performing certain types of work, who occasionally work in the Netherlands for a short period, such as journalists, musicians, or guest lecturers. More information on the type of work that is exempt from requiring a work permit is available from the CWI (Center for Work & Income).
  • Foreigners who are Highly Skilled Migrants.
  • Scientific researchers in the sense of Directive 2005/71/EC

The most important conditions for the employer:

  • You are first required to seek personnel seriously in the Netherlands for a reasonable period and in Europe for a period of 5-13 weeks. You must be able to show proof of this. You have to do this via all available channels, such as the Internet, advertisements in trade magazines or newspapers, or via placement agencies. You are also expected to look at the possibilities of in-service training. If you have not made real effort to recruit candidates, your application will be refused.
  • You must submit the vacancy to the CWI five weeks prior to applying for the work permit.


The CWI can issue work permits that have a limited validity or are subject to specific conditions. The CWI will determine which work permit is granted based on information provided by the employer.

Important: You are not allowed to have the foreigner work for you until the work permit has been issued.

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