Is working in the Netherlands as a non-EU citizen possible?

Is working in the Netherlands as a non-EU citizen possible?

Looking for a job in the Netherlands, but not sure if you can work there or not? It is relatively easy for people who are nationals of one of the Member States of the European Economic Area to get a job in the Netherlands.

If you are from outside the EU, getting a job in the Netherlands is more difficult, but not impossible. How it can be done depends on each situation. Find out which situation suits you so that you know how to go about working in the Netherlands.

1.No visa required for Dutch or EEA nationals

Workers with Dutch or other European Economic Area (EEA) nationality or Swiss nationality do not need a work permit to work in the Netherlands. They are free to come to the Netherlands and start working there. They also do not need to register with the Dutch Migration Service.

To start working in the Netherlands, even if you only plan to stay temporarily, you must register with your local Dutch municipality. After registering, you will receive a letter from the municipality with your BSN number (Citizen Service Number), which is your tax and social security number that you need to start working in the Netherlands.

Keep the letter, as you may need it in the future, for example at the Dutch municipality, at the hospital, at school, at work, and at institutions for certain benefits. If you lose this letter, you can always find your BSN number on your pay slip, you will get it from your employer.


If you start working in the Netherlands through a temporary employment agency, the agency usually arranges for you to register with the local municipality, so you don’t usually need to plan your own visit to the office.

If you have a passport from one of the European Economic Area Member States and are motivated to work in the Netherlands on a temporary or long-term basis, Robin can offer you a job and accommodation that will meet your needs.

Register to work in the Netherlands as an EU citizen

2. Opportunities for people living outside the EEA

To be able to work officially in the Netherlands, foreigners have to meet different criteria – if you are from outside the European Economic Area, you will need a work permit to work in the Netherlands.

The Employment Service in the Netherlands (UWV) only issues work permits if you meet strict requirements. One of these requirements is that the employer has to show that no worker suitable for the job can be found in the EU. There are a number of special categories where the requirements for obtaining a work permit are less stringent.
When it comes to hiring workers or recruiting them through a recruitment agency, it is up to the individual company or recruitment agency to apply for a work permit.


3.Categories with less stringent requirements for obtaining a work permit

Some people from outside the EEA are exempt and do not need a work permit. These workers need a residence permit or visa to stay in the Netherlands for less than 3 months:

  • Workers with a residence permit with the words “allowed to work” (arbeid is vrij toegestaan). This includes, for example, foreigners with refugee status and a residence permit;
  • Start-ups who have a residence permit as a “start-up”;
  • Employees who live abroad but work in the Netherlands for a short period of time, for example during business meetings or when installing appliances supplied by their employer;
  • These are highly skilled immigrants who come to the Netherlands and add value to the knowledge economy.

Now, not as an EU citizen, you might think: “I can apply as a highly skilled migrant”. There are again strict requirements to be admitted as a knowledge migrant. Two of them: you must have an employment contract before you can apply, and you must have a minimum gross monthly salary of at least €4,500 per month, depending on your age (which is higher than the average Dutch salary). Your employer will also have to be recognized as a sponsor by the Dutch Immigration Service (IND).

If you think you can apply for a work permit as a highly skilled migrant, it is recommended that you visit the Dutch Immigration Service’s website, where you will find all the information you need.

For certain groups of non-EU foreigners, permits are required, but the requirements for obtaining them are less stringent:

  • Working students working a maximum of 16 hours per week;
  • Trainees;
  • Artists earning more than the minimum wage;
  • Refugees working no more than 24 weeks out of 52;
  • Religious ministers such as priests, imams or religious teachers.

If you don’t have an EU passport and your chances of getting a Dutch work permit are slim, the best way to get a job in the Netherlands is to first get an EU passport from another EU country and then go to work in the Netherlands.

4. How to get an EU passport

The easiest way to get an EU passport is with the help of family members (citizenship through family members). This is the quickest and cheapest way to get a passport in a short time. If you have parents, grandparents or great-grandparents in one of the EU countries, you can already get EU citizenship. For example:

  • A South African citizen can get a British passport;
  • An Argentinian can get an Italian passport;
  • A Brazilian can get a Portuguese passport;
  • A Costa Rican can get a Spanish passport.

Be aware that not all EU countries allow you to have two passports, so you may have to choose between them.

If you have a passport from one of the EEA countries, you do not need a work permit to live and work in the Netherlands and you can stay in the Netherlands as long as you like. Don’t forget that when working in the Netherlands you need to be able to speak English to communicate with your employer and colleagues.

And what if you can’t get citizenship with the help of your family? In that case, you need to be patient. It can take up to 5 years to get an EU passport. However, you can make the most of this time, which means you can improve your English or even Dutch language skills to impress your future employer!

5. Going to the Netherlands with your family

If you come to work in the Netherlands as an EU national, then under Dutch law you are allowed to take your family members with you, even if they do not have EU nationality.
The family members who can accompany you to the Netherlands are:

  • Your husband, wife or registered partner;
  • Your partner with whom you are not married but have lived together for at least 6 months or have children in common;
  • Your children or grandchildren under the age of 21;
  • Your children or grandchildren who are not married and are over 21 years old;
  • Your parents or grandparents.

You can take your grandchildren or children over 21 years of age, as well as your parents or grandparents when they are a bit of a “burden” to you. This means that you are helping or caring for these family members even before you go to the Netherlands. You may simply be looking after them or providing them with other support.

Please note that Robin Partners does not provide accommodation for your family members. If you are planning a longer stay in the Netherlands and would like to bring your family with you, we recommend that you try to find your own accommodation. That way you can decide how and with whom you will live. If you speak Dutch, it will be much easier to rent from locals.

6.Working in the Netherlands with a EU passport

We get a lot of enquiries from people with a EU passport wondering if they can work in the Netherlands.

People with an alien passport are people who do not have EU  or other nationality. These people are entitled to a non-citizen passport issued by the Latvian government. Around two thirds of the people who hold a EU foreign passport (non-citizen passport) are Russians, but there are also Belarusians, Ukrainians, Poles and Lithuanians.

If you have a passport, you can travel to the Netherlands without a visa, but you will only be allowed to stay for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. If you have Latvian citizenship, you can stay in the Netherlands for as long as you like. As a non-citizen, you cannot legally work in the Netherlands without a work permit.


FAQ on how to get a job in the Netherlands as a non-EU national

I do not have an EU passport. Can Robin help me get a job in Holland?
No, Robin specializes in helping people with EU citizenship who speak their mother tongue to get a job in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. We do not have any vacancies for non-EU nationals, nor do we have the expertise to recruit people to Holland, Belgium or Germany from outside the EU.


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