How to Move to the Netherlands as a Skilled Professional With a Netherlands Work Visa

For many, the Netherlands presents an ideal country to make their home. The country’s standard of living has long been rated among the highest in the world, and it boasts some of the highest life expectancies and economic growth rates in Europe. However, despite being one of the founding members of the EU and having a long history of tolerance and openness, moving to the Netherlands can be pretty daunting, especially if you are planning to relocate on your own as a skilled professional or entrepreneur.

How to Move to the Netherlands as a Skilled Professional With a Netherlands Work Visa

Many people only consider specific locations, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and Dubai, when they consider traveling abroad for business. Very few people think about making ends meet by obtaining a Netherlands work visa to increase their wages in this nation. Whether your goal is to launch a business or work for a multinational corporation, the Netherlands is among the most incredible places to visit. It is renowned for having more liberal rules and pleasant living conditions than other well-known locations.

The Netherlands was ranked as the best place to live in a 2018 study by HSBC Expat Explorer, utilizing key performance metrics like economic productivity, the quality of educational institutions, English proficiency, and the green revolution. Whether you are hoping to move to the Netherlands after securing work with a firm from abroad or planning to transfer to start a business here, I will walk you through all you need to know about securing your Netherland work visa in this post.

Understanding the Netherlands Work Visa

Anyone who is not a citizen of Switzerland or hails from a nation outside the European Economic Area (EEA) must first get a work permit to begin employment in the Netherlands. In this country, there are two categories of work permits;

  • The employment permit (TWV)
  • And the single permit (also known as a combined residence and work permit)

Netherlands Work Permit Requirements for Foreign Workers Outside the EEA

Obtaining an employment permit (TWV) for new employees joining their workforce from other countries is necessary for the Netherlands for businesses wishing to hire foreign workers from Switzerland and non-EEA nations. An employment permit is required for foreign workers who are given employment in the Netherlands that can be finished in less than three months. A single permit is often requested if the planned work detail would take more than three months to complete.

Before the Dutch employment agency, tasked with giving employment licenses to businesses for their new foreign hires, will issue this work authorization document, stringent requirements must be completed. Before opening up these openings to the worldwide community, conditions like ensuring there are no qualified experts to fill in vacant corporate jobs within the Netherlands. Less obviously, these criteria can be waived in the event of a particular type of job.

An employment permit (TWV) must be requested on behalf of the employee when hiring occurs through an intermediary business, such as a human resources firm. A copy of the recruit's ID and employment permit must be given to the Netherlands sponsor once this is approved (hiring company). The method mentioned above is intended to ensure that due process has been followed and that the company hiring foreign workers maintains an accurate payroll record of its employees. The hiring firm's ability to help a new hire who wants to work in the Netherlands apply for a single permit (GVVA) with the immigration and naturalization services (IND) will rely on how challenging it was for the hiring company to identify the ideal applicant to fill the post.

Requirements for Dutch, EEA Nationals, and Other Special Conditions

People from the Netherlands and the European Economic Area are free to occupy a variety of employment in various businesses and are not required to apply for a work visa. Foreign nationals outside the EEA and Switzerland may also benefit from these advantages under specific circumstances. For instance, this unique circumstance permits a non-EEA member to be eligible for employment without a work visa when a foreign national marries a Dutch, Swiss, or a person from the European Economic Area.

When a Netherlands Work Visa is Required, But Not a Work Permit

Some categories of non-EEA foreign people are excused from requesting a work permit. However, before submitting a request for a Netherlands work visa, this group of people must apply for a residency permit.

The group included in this rule is;

  • People with the phrase ‘arbeid is vrij toegestaan’ stenciled on their residence permit. This phrase means; ‘permitted to work in English.
  • Foreign nationals with a resident permit that contains the phrase ‘arbeid als zelfstandige.’ This translates to ‘self-employed,’ usually businessmen or traders who own their businesses.
  • Foreigners from other countries outside the EEA who are traveling to the Netherlands intend to start their businesses. This usually has the word ‘startup’ stenciled on their residence permit.
  • Exceptional migrants who are highly skilled in their areas of expertise. This is seen to potentially increase the knowledge base of critical sectors in the country.
  • Foreign nationals who live abroad but plying their trade in the Netherlands on a short-term basis.

Types of Dutch Work Visa

Depending on their circumstances, candidates can apply for any of the various subcategories of the Netherlands work visa. These subcategories have specific requirements and rules that must be followed to avoid rejection.


The various types of Netherlands work visas and the requirements for obtaining them are listed below;

Workers entering the country on a work visa to start regular employment are typically referred to as labor migrants.

To apply for this work visa subcategory;

  • An employment contract that shows a Dutch company has offered the applicant a job is to be submitted as a supporting document.
  • The applicant will need to prove that the sponsor is willing to pay the minimum salary, which is a standard for working-class immigrants above the age of 23
  • The Dutch employer that seeks the services of the foreign national is mandated to prove that the open position cannot be filled by citizens of the Netherlands or other European economic area countries.

Dutch Seasonal Labor Work Visa

This work visa subclass is available for foreign nationals who intend to enter the Netherlands for seasonal employment, typically in the agricultural industry. The recipient's stay is 24 weeks with the Dutch seasonal work visa.

The seasonal work visa has specific standards that must be satisfied before it is issued, just like the typically paid work visa. They do;

  • An employment contract that shows that the applicant has been duly employed or will be employed at a specified time in the future is required
  • Whether with the assistance of a Dutch employer or by personal effort, a single permit has to be obtained before this visa can be applied for
  • The Dutch company seeking the applicant’s services must be willing to structure salary payments at minimum wage levels.

Dutch Intra Corporate Transfer Work Visa

The applicant can be employed by a Dutch company's abroad subsidiary and wish to move their services to a branch or head office in the Netherlands. An intra-company work visa is necessary to complete this.

  • The applicant cannot be a national of any country inside the European Economic Area.
  • The applicant must reside in a nation outside of the European Union at the time of application.
  • The candidate must be a specialist or trainee presenting their management-level skills.
  • The holder of this visa must work for the company in his or her home country for at least three months before being transferred to the Dutch branch.
  • The candidate must be suitable for the advertised post and have the necessary experience.
  • The salary structure must be set up such that the applicant's compensation complies with the requirements for a highly skilled immigrant.
  • To qualify for this work visa, the applicant must demonstrate that they intend to live in the Netherlands for the time they will be working for a Dutch business.
  • The visa recipient's existing employer in his or her home country must have a strong business relationship with the branch in the Netherlands to which they are relocating.
  • Before the applicant's transfer visa was approved, there must have been no change in the job.
  • The Netherlands branch or subsidiary to which the transfer is being made must not have violated the Alien Employment Act within the previous five years, particularly when paying wage taxes or employment insurance premiums.
  • Employees who enter the Netherlands to participate in trainee programs must make sure they apply for their visas under the appropriate trainee program rather than the standard employment status.

Dutch Highly Skilled Immigrant Visa

Knowledge workers are the name given to this group of employees. They are highly talented employees with the potential to significantly advance knowledge in vital areas of the Dutch economy due to their professional contributions. An employee is classified as a highly-skilled immigrant based on the money they make from increasing a company's output. Individuals in this category under the age of 30 must earn a minimum of €3,299, and those beyond this age must earn a minimum of €4,500.

Before a candidate is categorized under this subcategory, specific requirements must be met;

  • A Dutch employer or research institution must provide an employment contract.
  • The employer must be a sponsor acknowledged by the immigration and naturalization agencies to hire foreign nationals under this subclass (IND)
  • Research scientist employment agreements must be signed on behalf of the hiring organization.
  • Contracts issued to researchers must include a job description and code that follow the university's criteria for classifying jobs.
  • The medical specialist registration committee (MSRC), social medicine physician committee (SGRC), general practitioner registration committee, and nursing home physicians registration committee have all established institutions where doctors enrolled in this subclass must complete their training (HVRC)
  • To pursue further education, doctors in the Netherlands are required to register with a specific healthcare professional organization. otherwise known as a BIG-register

European Blue Card

A non-EU citizen may attempt to live and work in any nation that is a part of the EU, but they must first obtain a European blue card, which serves as a work permit. There are a few significant exclusions, though; the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Denmark do not acknowledge this treaty. A Dutch work visa and a work permit are necessary for usage in the Netherlands of a European blue card issued from another member of the EU. Some prerequisites must be met for this to happen;

  • The candidate must have a Dutch employer's employment contract for at least a year.
  • After at least three years, the candidate must have completed a program that resulted in a higher education diploma.
  • All higher education certificates used in the application procedure must be evaluated by the Dutch organization for internationalization in education (Nuffic).
  • The candidate must prove they possess the necessary skills to work in their chosen profession.
  • Each European blue card has specified monthly pay criteria the holder must meet to be issued, typically not less than €5,272.
  • In particular, regarding the payment of wage taxes or employment insurance premiums, the Dutch employer requesting the applicant's services must not have broken the aliens employment act within the previous five years.

Orientation Year for Highly Educated Persons

Some students who finished their studies in the Netherlands but whose study visa is about to expire or has already probably expired may be able to request an extension to find employment. This group of applicants is eligible to apply for a work visa for the Netherlands to receive a good orientation by working there during the three years that follow their education program. One or more of the following requirements must be satisfied to be eligible for this orientation year;

  • The candidate must have completed a Dutch BA or MA program from an authorized university.
  • Must be enrolled in a postgraduate program for which at least one year has passed.
  • The candidate must have previously had a visa to the Netherlands for scientific study.
  • Hold an MA from an Erasmus Mundus institution in a master's program.
  • Obtaining the ministerial decree's benefits by finishing a higher education program at a specific institution.
  • Completing a project supported by the Netherlands' minister of foreign affairs' development cooperation strategy
  • Possess a certificate issued by a Dutch institution under the Cultural Policy Act
  • Having earned an MA or other postgraduate degree while attending a designated university or higher education facility abroad

European Union Researcher Directive 2016/801

Candidates who held research positions in other EU members may immigrate to the Netherlands if they meet the following criteria:

  • They demonstrate that they have the background in higher education to meet the prerequisites for admission to a doctoral degree program.
  • a Dutch research center authorized to host research cooperation by the Immigration and Naturalization Services (IND)
  • When a Netherlands-based organization grants permission for a candidate or group of candidates to conduct a research project
  • A research institute has provided an employment contract or host agreement to the applicant for a work visa for the Netherlands.
  • The applicant for a work visa will be paid more by his or her Dutch employer than the required minimum.

Dutch Work Visa Requirements for Self-Employed Individuals, Freelancers, and Entrepreneurs

If a foreign person from a nation outside the European economic area intends to start a business or operate as a freelancer in the Netherlands, only one permission is needed. This is due to the requirement for resident permission rather than a work permit. In contrast to other visa categories, the requirements and restrictions for a Dutch work visa for independent contractors are highly severe. The anticipated product or service to be given by the firm must be directed toward enhancing the standard of living for nation residents or benefiting the economy for self-employed work visa applicants. If so, candidates might be qualified for a startup visa.

How to Apply for a Netherlands Work Visa

The Dutch consular agent, whether at an embassy or high commission, must receive the applicant's application for a work visa in person. If there isn't an embassy or high commission in the country where the new hire is from, a submission must be made at a Netherlands consular service office in a neighboring nation. Before submitting the work visa application, an appointment must be made. To minimize mistakes or errors in the visa application process for employees wishing to immigrate to the Netherlands, most applicants typically seek a professional's assistance.

The Netherlands work visa serves as a residence permit and a legal need to work there for three months or longer. Typically, it is referred to as a single permit with two purposes. As was mentioned above, there are various subclasses of Dutch work visas. The type of employment a candidate is visiting the nation to accept must be disclosed before a work visa can be granted. It's also important to note that various available positions demand Dutch resident permits. However, there are standard conditions that apply to all applications for work visas.

Before applying for a Netherlands work visa, a candidate must first identify organizations posting open positions intended to be filled by foreign nationals. Of course, one's area of competence will determine this. Before this visa can be issued to applicants for different categories, several requirements must be satisfied. Self-employed candidates can apply for their Dutch work visa at the point of entry into the Netherlands under specific subclasses of Netherlands work visas, such as the startup visa. However, to qualify for this visa program, you must fulfill a few essential requirements.

The immigration and naturalization service (IND), which is responsible for approving resident and work permits (single permits) for foreign workers staying for some time over 90 days, will reject such applications if a work visa application is accepted for a position that can be filled by local labor. Therefore, it is essential to pay attention to such minor detail. Depending on the length of the intended employment, when applicants from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland are accepted to work for a company in the Netherlands, the recruiting company becomes the applicant's sponsor. It is responsible for applying for the new hire's employment permit.

Of course, this only applies to candidates who want to stay in the nation to work for less than 90 days. The Netherlands sponsor sends the work permit application to the Dutch employment agency for approval. This is typically different for those wishing to work in the Netherlands for a term longer than 90 days. Job searchers from abroad who intend to stay and work in the Netherlands for longer than three months must apply for a single visa that will grant them full residency and a work permit. They must apply to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) to obtain this permit. They must complete this on their own, without the aid of a hiring firm.

The next stage is to apply for a Netherlands work visa after acquiring a permit from an employer (employment permit) or the immigration and naturalization agency (single permit). There will be no need to present proof of finances if the applicant's sponsor covers all costs. The applicant must provide proof of sufficient cash as one of the supporting documents to be presented with a visa application if the Netherlands firm hiring the applicant is not covering the cost of living.

Dutch Citizen Service Number

The new hire for the Dutch company must appear at the local city office five days after arriving in the country to receive a Dutch citizen service number. This is a crucial step because it is illegal to reside in the Netherlands without a Dutch citizen number. The hiring company will suffer as a result of this.

Required Documents for Dutch Work Visa Application

The supporting documentation needed to process a Dutch work visa for a foreign national citizen of a non-EU nation varies on the open post and needs to be filled. Additionally, it depends on where you are from because different countries and continents have distinct rules. No matter the nation or the post being filled, the following supporting documents are always required:

  • A valid passport
  • Attested evidence that information contained in the visa application is true
  • Proof of funds that shows a statement of sufficient income earnings
  • Proof of employment from an employer recognized by the Dutch employment agency
  • Medical certificate showing the applicant is free from tuberculosis
  • A background check to show a lack of a criminal record

Final Thoughts

The process of obtaining a work visa for the Netherlands is complicated enough. Since the earlier stages leading up to this are reasonably tricky, a candidate will need to apply for openings in businesses based in the nation. Before a foreign national is given consideration for these posts, a set of eligibility requirements is examined to see if the advertised position can be filled locally and for how long. For work with less than three months, the Dutch employment agency processes employment permits.

People from nations outside the EEA who intend to work in the Netherlands for extended lengths of time must apply for a single permit to be allowed to do both. However, there are specific circumstances under which the Immigration and Naturalization Service will process single permits on behalf of the employer (IND). After obtaining these documents, the next step is to apply for a work visa for the Netherlands and wait for a response.

The type of work to be performed in the Netherlands and the applicant's country will be carefully considered when deciding whether to grant a work visa. To process the visa application, the applicant must choose the appropriate work visa subcategory and provide the necessary supporting papers. The time it takes to process a visa application might range from 2 to 7 weeks, depending on how thorough the application is. When a choice is made, there are still actions that foreign workers entering the Netherlands must take within the first five days.

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