Everything you need to know about recruitment agencies in the Netherlands

Everything you need to know about recruitment agencies in the Netherlands

Most people who get a job in the Netherlands have a contract with a temporary employment agency, known in Dutch as a uitzendbureau

A temporary employment agency, or uitzendbureau, is the intermediate link between companies looking for workers and people looking for work. As Dutch temporary employment agencies are constantly short of staff for various jobs and are not always aware of the rules that apply in the labour market in a foreign country, they very often outsource the recruitment and selection of staff to intermediary agencies such as Robin.

How can the Dutch recruitment agency help me?

Unlike many recruitment agencies in the UK, Ireland, Germany or Norway, Dutch temporary employment agencies take care of everything a worker might need to start working and living in the Netherlands from the very first day they arrive.

Paying wages

The payroll service covers everything related to payroll and tax payment. The temporary employment agency also takes care of:

  • Calculating your hours worked
  • Calculating your wages
  • Taxes deducted from your salary by your employer and paid to the Dutch state
  • Deduction of income tax from your salary
  • Your pay slip

Providing a place of residence

The accommodation in the Netherlands where you will be accommodated when you go to work through Robin Agency meets SNF standards. This guarantees you that your accommodation will meet at least the minimum standards for housing for foreign workers. These standards apply to the size, privacy, security, hygiene and fire safety of the premises where the worker is accommodated. The recruitment agencies that Robin works with are required to comply with these standards and are inspected once a year. Lithuanian workers are usually accommodated together when they come to work in the Netherlands. But don’t be surprised if your neighbor is from another country, such as Poland or Portugal.

Helping you get the documents you need to work legally

Once you arrive in the Netherlands, the recruitment agency will help you get the documents you need to work legally in the country. So with the help of an agency, you will:

  • Sign an employment contract
  • Choose a health insurance policy
  • Sign a residence agreement
  • You will receive a Social Security number, called a Burger Service Number or BSN number
  • You will be registered with the local municipality if necessary

For those who do not speak English well, it is important to know that many Dutch recruitment agencies have a foreign languages speaking member of staff.

Jaunius Butkus
Jaunius Butkus
It was a quick and efficient service. The social security number was obtained quickly.

Transportation to the workspace

Many people who go to work in the Netherlands are concerned about how they will get to their place of work. Temporary employment agencies arrange transport so that workers can get to their place of work easily and comfortably.

The means of transport provided by the agency depends on the distance between your place of residence and your place of work. In most cases, the worker receives a bicycle, for which they have to pay a deposit. Once the work is completed through the agency and the bicycle is returned in good condition, the worker gets the deposit back. If the workplace is further away from the place of residence, the agency may also provide a car for the commute of several employees living in the same house or nearby and working for the same company. In this case, the agency will also pay the fuel costs.

How do I get a Dutch temporary employment contract?

Many workers who get a job through a Dutch temporary employment agency sign a temporary employment contract with the employment agency.

The main difference between a temporary employment contract and a regular employment contract is that in this case, the worker does not work for the temporary employment agency with which the employment contract is concluded, but for another company with which the temporary worker has no contract. So your employer will be the temporary employment agency, which will pay your salary, provide you with accommodation and transport, and your place of work will be in one of the companies hiring temporary workers from the temporary employment agency.

There are three types of temporary employment contract. The type of contract you sign will depend on the period of time you will work through the temporary employment agency. The longer you work in the Netherlands, the more obligations the temporary employment agency and you will have towards each other.

Flexible employment contract

When you start working through a temporary employment agency, you will sign a flexible employment contract. Dutch recruitment agencies can sign a flexible contract with you until you have worked 78 weeks with the same recruitment agency.

The number of hours you work per week, change of position or change of workplace during the 78 weeks does not affect the calculation of the number of weeks you have worked with the same agency.

The advantage of a flexible contract is that your employer, i.e. the temporary employment agency, has the same rights as you. In case you want to end your contract with the agency, you can do so at any time.

Fixed-term contract

After working for the same agency for 78 weeks, you will sign a fixed-term contract. Then, even if you leave your job for a short time and return to work through the same recruitment agency within 26 weeks, your contract will remain fixed-term. But if you stop working for more than 26 weeks, you will still have to sign a flexible contract when you return to work with the same agency.

Unlike a flexible contract, if you sign a fixed-term contract, you will be entitled to a salary for as long as your contract lasts. During this period, you will have to work in the job assigned to you by the temporary employment agency. After four years, or when you have signed a maximum of 6 contracts, the temporary employment agency will have to give you a permanent contract.


An open-ended contract

An open-ended contract does not specify a time limit for the end of the job. If the company you work for ends, the temporary employment agency will have to pay your salary until it offers you a job with another company.

Advantages of a temporary employment contract

Many people who go to work in the Netherlands sign a flexible contract with a temporary employment agency. Here are some of the advantages of this contract:

The opportunity to gain experience in different companies

If you don’t have a lot of work experience yet, working through a temporary agency will give you the opportunity to get a variety of experience in different companies.

The opportunity to change positions and workplaces gives you the chance to test yourself in different working environments. This will help you to understand what kind of work you like best and do best. And if your employer likes you, he or she will want you to stay with the company longer. In addition, the colleagues you meet in different workplaces will broaden your circle of acquaintances.

Increased chances of getting a job offer

Many companies only recruit workers who have signed a temporary work contract with a recruitment agency. In this case, you are more likely to get a job than if you try to get a job directly with a particular company.

Opportunity to work more hours

During busy periods, companies give more working hours to workers employed through a temporary employment agency. This makes it easier for companies as they can change the number of workers according to demand, but at the same time they do not have to commit to them as the temporary employment agency takes care of everything. And more hours means higher wages.

Disadvantages of a temporary employment contract

Despite all the advantages that a temporary employment contract offers to the employee, there are some disadvantages that you should be aware of if you are interested in working through a Dutch temporary employment agency.

Some recruitment agencies do not respect the law

When going to work through a Dutch recruitment agency, make sure you do your research about the agency and that it is reliable. A good proof of an agency’s credibility is that it is a member of the NBBU or the ABU, i.e. organizations that bring together Dutch recruitment agencies. All agencies belonging to these organizations are obliged to comply with strict laws protecting the rights of temporary workers in the Netherlands. Robin only works with such agencies. However, there are some agencies that do not comply with the law, and a temporary worker who signs a contract with such an agency may be deceived or dissatisfied with the pay or the conditions of accommodation.

The company's bonus system for your disability

In most cases, if you sign a temporary employment contract with a recruitment agency, you will not be covered by the company’s bonus scheme, which applies to employees who are directly employed by the company.

The first days of sickness are unpaid

If you fall ill, the temporary employment agency will first count the so-called waiting days (wachtdagen in Dutch). Waiting days are the first days of sickness that are not paid. Once you have signed a temporary employment contract, there are 1 or 2 unpaid waiting days. If you have a flexible contract and you are ill for a long time, the recruitment agency may even terminate your contract.

+ Opportunity to gain experience in different companies- Some recruitment agencies do not follow the law
+ Better chances of getting a job offer- You won't benefit from the company's bonus system

+ Better chances of getting a job offe- You won't benefit from the company's bonus system
+ Opportunity to work more hours- First days of sickness are unpaid


Dutch temporary employment agencies not only give you a job, but also take care of everything you need to start a job and a new life in this country. The agency will help you with all the necessary paperwork, pay your salary, provide you with a place to live and arrange transport to your place of work.

The terms of the contract you sign with the temporary employment agency will depend on the collective agreement under which the employment agency works. If you go to work in the Netherlands through Robin recruitment agency, you can be sure that the recruitment agency you will be working for complies with the provisions of the collective agreement of the NBBU or the ABU, which protects the rights of temporary workers.

Depending on the number of weeks you have worked for a particular recruitment agency, your temporary employment contract may be flexible, fixed-term or open-ended. The longer you work for one recruitment agency, the more obligations you have towards each other.

Signing a temporary contract with a Dutch recruitment agency will give you a great opportunity to try out different jobs in different companies. This way you will test yourself and, if you make a good impression on the employer, you may be able to stay with the company for a longer period of time or get more hours.

However, when looking for a job in the Netherlands, it is important to make sure that the recruitment agency you are going to use is reliable. There are recruitment agencies that do not follow the rules laid down by the law on recruitment, which can result in the employee being harmed.

It is also important to be aware that if you are on a temporary contract, you will not be covered by the bonus scheme and your first days of sickness will not be paid.

FAQs about the Dutch recruitment agency

Will my salary be higher if I work directly for the company instead of through a recruitment agency?

No, your salary will be the same whether you work through a recruitment agency or directly with the company.

Every employer in the Netherlands has to comply with at least the minimum requirements laid down in the collective agreement, depending on the sector in which you work. So the fact that you are working through a recruitment agency will not affect your hourly wage. In addition, workers employed through a recruitment agency are more likely to receive overtime and therefore earn more.

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