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Can I work in the Netherlands without a residence permit?

11.04.2023

As a general rule, no. If you are not an EU citizen, then in order to live and work in the Netherlands, you need a residence permit, and in some cases also a work permit in addition. However, there are two "windows" that make it possible to work in the Netherlands legally without a residence permit. The first is the arrival in the country as a temporary worker for three months through a Polish or other work visa of an EU country. The second is the registration of temporary protection in the Netherlands (only for Ukrainians!).

Work permit

To obtain work permit (TWV) or combined residence and work permit (GVVA) for a foreign citizen from the UWV (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen), a number of requirements must be met. In particular, the employer must make every effort to fill the corresponding vacancy with a suitable candidate from the Netherlands, the EEA (what is the EEA - in our article) or Switzerland. And only by proving that he cannot find such a candidate, the employer has the right to request permission to accept a foreign worker.

In practice, for ordinary working specialties, such requirements are not feasible, so the chances of obtaining a work permit and, accordingly, a work visa to the Netherlands are close to zero. At the same time, for highly qualified specialists (kennismigranten - KM) the situation is different - more on this in the section "Migration services" on our website.

Temporary workers

Before the start of a full-scale war in Ukraine, the only relevant option for non-EU citizens without a residence permit (for example, from Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova) to work in the Netherlands was to use an intermediary company in one of the EU countries, most often in Poland. You can learn more about how this works from materials on our website.

In short:

  1. Employee opens a visa to Poland for a period of 6 months to 1 year, often the so-called Vojvoda (D 06) for 360 days.
  2. In Poland, an employee receives a PESEL, opens a bank account and formalizes a formal employment relationship with a Polish employer (umowa o prace). And it will be a subcontractor who sends an employee to the Netherlands - the so-called sending party.
  3. Often, for a legal business trip to the Netherlands, you have to work for about a month in Poland (at least 25% of 90 days).
  4. For a business trip to the Netherlands, an A1 form (A1 certificate / zaswiadczenie A1) is issued for an employee - a document that is issued by the Polish social insurance authority and is valid throughout the EU.
  5. The employee is sent to the Netherlands to a company that has a contract with the sending party. This so-called the host.
Important! The worker is tied to both the sending and receiving parties. He cannot choose/change jobs in the Netherlands. After working for three months, you should leave the country. The right to return to work appears only after three months.

Ukrainians with temporary protection

In connection with the start of a full-scale armed invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine, the European Parliament activated Directive 2001/55 / ​​EC, which provided unprecedented rights for Ukrainian refugees in Europe. In particular, this the right to work without obtaining a special permitmentioned above. The employer is only obliged to notify the relevant supervisory authority about the employment of a Ukrainian, in the Netherlands this is the Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, UWV). Learn more about this procedure in our article.

Important! So that a Ukrainian with temporary protection can work legally in the Netherlands, he should first:
  1. make a so-called registration – register with the municipality (gemeente) of the place of residence and obtain a BSN number;
  2. get a sticker or IND card – confirmation from the migration service of the right to legally stay in the country on the basis of the Temporary Protection Directive.
Attention! Without a residence permit and a sticker, Ukrainian refugees do not have the right to work in the Netherlands. The visa-free regime does not provide the right to work.

Exploitation and "suffocating contracts" 

Even after the opening of extremely wide employment opportunities for Ukrainians in the EU, the field for abuse by unscrupulous employers remains. Ukrainians often do not even suspect that they can get a job on more favorable terms and, moreover, not tolerate obvious violations of labor laws.

In particular, the fate of Ukrainian workers in the Netherlands is concerned Christian National Federation of Trade Unions (Christelijk Nationaal Vakverbond - NVC) и non-governmental organization protecting the rights of labor migrants — fair work. Ukrainians are still falling victim to Polish employment agencies that send workers to the Netherlands according to the scheme described above (on a business trip). Often these are citizens of Ukraine who:

  1. arrived in Poland before February 24, 2022 on a work visa or had a residence permit there (Karta pobytu);
  2. applied for temporary protection in Poland;
  3. found employment intermediaries while still in Ukraine, and did not delve into the nuances of paperwork.

It is not uncommon for such people to work in the Netherlands with so-called “suffocating contracts” (this expression is used by CNV representatives). For example, such a contract provides for a fine of 20% of the salary in the event that the employer is not satisfied with the results of the work. For failure to comply with certain rules, the employee is threatened with “deportation” to Poland or Ukraine, as well as a ban on entry to EU countries.

Examples of such rules: An employee is prohibited from directly contacting his Dutch employer and disclosing the terms of his contract to anyone. A number of Ukrainians have told CNV that they are forced to pay for employment and then have their wages withheld for accommodation and transportation, have no money for food, and cannot access a bank account set up for them. Workers cannot return to Poland whenever they want, because the agency determines when the return trip will take place.

Legal ignorance

The main reasons for the exploitation of Ukrainians and other foreign workers are their legal illiteracy and lack of knowledge of either English or Dutch. For example, people who have received temporary protection in Poland can move and receive the same status already in the Netherlands. For work, they can directly enter into employment contracts with Dutch employers or use the services of local employment agencies that operate within the framework of the law. The category of posted workers (without temporary protection status in the Netherlands) can also enjoy all the same rights during their posting as other workers in the Netherlands.

Do you want to work in the Netherlands? If yes, then first find out how to do it legally, based on your situation. Questions arise? Contact lawyers. But do not make hasty decisions, implicitly trusting employment mediators.

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