Applying for a work permit in the Netherlands. This is what you as a UK citizen need to know.

Until 31 December 2020, all EU rules were in force for the United Kingdom and citizens with British nationality could easily start working at Dutch companies, i.e., without a residence or work permit. However, when the United Kingdom left the European Union on December 31, 2020, the situation has changed. Are you a British citizen and do you want to work in the Netherlands after December 31, 2020? Then there are a number of important subjects that you should keep in mind. From that moment on, the EU rules no longer apply to the United Kingdom and your rights will be regulated on the basis of the trade and cooperation agreement, which the European Union and the United Kingdom have agreed.

Applying for a work permit in the Netherlands

Incidentally, the trade and cooperation agreement contain remarkably few agreements about the working British citizens in the Netherlands from 1 January 2021. As a result, the national rules for citizens outside the EU (someone who does not have the nationality of the EU / EEA or Switzerland) to be allowed to work in the Netherlands. In this context, the Foreign Nationals Employment Act (WAV) stipulates that a citizen outside the EU  requires a work permit in the Netherlands. There are two types of work permit that can be applied for, depending on the period that you plan to perform work in the Netherlands:

  • a work permit (TWV) from the UWV, if you will be staying in the Netherlands for less than 90 days.
  • a combined residence and work permit (GVVA) from the IND, if you will be staying in the Netherlands for longer than 90 days.

For both types of work permit, you cannot submit an application to the UWV or IND yourself. The work permit must be applied for by your employer at the aforementioned authorities. However, a number of important conditions must be met before a work permit is granted for the position you wish to fulfil in the Netherlands as a British and therefore a citizen from outside the EU.

No suitable candidates on the Dutch or the European labour market

One of the important conditions for granting a TWV or a GVVA work permit is that there is no “priority offer” on the Dutch or European labour market. This means that your employer must first find employees in the Netherlands and the EEA and make the vacancy known to the UWV by reporting it to an employer service point of the UWV or by posting it there. Only if your Dutch employer can demonstrate that his intensive recruitment efforts have not led to results, in the sense that no Dutch or EEA employees were suitable or available, can you enter into employment with this employer. Incidentally, the aforementioned condition is applied less strictly in the situation of transferring personnel within an international group and when it concerns academic personnel, artists, guest lecturers or interns. After all, these (British) citizens from outside the EU are not expected to permanently enter the Dutch labour market.

A valid residence permit for an employee from outside the EU

Another important condition that is imposed on the granting of a TWV or a GVVA work permit is that you, as a British and therefore citizen outside the EU, have (or will receive) a valid residence permit with which you can work in the Netherlands. There are various residence permits to work in the Netherlands. Which residence permit you need is first determined on the basis of the duration for which you want to work in the Netherlands. If that is shorter than 90 days, a short-stay visa will usually suffice. You can apply for this visa at the Dutch embassy in your country of origin or the country of continuous residence.

However, if you want to work in the Netherlands for more than 90 days, the type of residence permit depends on the work you want to perform in the Netherlands:

  • Transfer within a company. If you work for a company outside the European Union and you are transferred to a Dutch branch as a trainee, manager or specialist, your Dutch employer can apply for a residence permit for you at the IND under the GVVA. In order to grant such a residence permit, you must meet a number of conditions in addition to a number of general conditions, such as a valid proof of identity and a background certificate, including a valid employment contract with a company established outside the EU. For more information about an intra-corporate transfer and the corresponding residence permit, please contact Law & More.
  • Highly skilled migrant. A highly skilled migrant permit can be applied for highly qualified employees from countries outside the European Union who are going to work in the Netherlands in a senior management position or as a specialist. The application for this is made to the IND by the employer within the framework of the GVVA. This residence permit does not therefore have to be applied for by yourself. You must, however, meet a number of conditions before granting this. These conditions and more information about them can be found on our page Knowledge migrant. Please note: different (additional) conditions apply to scientific researchers within the meaning of Directive (EU) 2016/801. Are you a British researcher who wants to work in the Netherlands according to the guideline? Then contact Law & More. Our specialists in the field of immigration and employment law are happy to help you.
  • The European Blue Card. The European Blue Card is a combined residence and work permit for highly educated migrants of those who, like British citizens, do not have the nationality of one of the Member States of the European Union since December 31, 2020, who are also registered with the IND by the employer within the framework of the GVVA must be applied for. As a holder of a European Blue Card, you can also start working in another Member State after having worked in the Netherlands for 18 months, provided you meet the conditions in that Member State. You can also read which conditions these are on our page Knowledge migrant.
  • Paid employment. In addition to the above options, there are a number of other permits with the purpose of residence for paid employment. Do you not recognize yourself in the above situations, for example because you want to work as a British employee in a specific Dutch position in art and culture or as a British correspondent for a Dutch publicity medium? In that case, a different residence permit will probably apply in your case and you must meet other (additional) conditions. The exact residence permit you need depends on your situation. At Law & More we can determine these together with you and on the basis of this determine which conditions you must meet.

No work permit required

In some cases, you as a British citizen do not require a TWV or GVAA work permit. Please note that in most exceptional cases you still need to be able to present a valid residence permit and sometimes report to the UWV. The two main exceptions to the work permit that will usually be most relevant are highlighted below:

  • British citizens who (came) to live in the Netherlands before 31 December 2020. These citizens are covered by the withdrawal agreement concluded between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. This means that even after the United Kingdom has definitively left the European Union, these British citizens can continue to work in the Netherlands without a work permit being required. This only applies if the British citizens in question are in possession of a valid residence permit, such as a permanent EU residence document. Do you belong to this category, but still do not have a valid document for your stay in the Netherlands? Then it is wise to still apply for a residence permit for a fixed or indefinite period to guarantee free access to the labour market in the Netherlands.
  • Independent entrepreneurs. If you want to work in the Netherlands as a self-employed person, you need a residence permit ‘work as a self-employed person’. If you want to be eligible for such a residence permit, the activities you will be carrying out must be of essential importance to the Dutch economy. The product or service you are going to offer must also have an innovative character for the Netherlands. Would you like to know which conditions you must meet and which official documents you must submit for the application? Then you can contact the lawyers of Law & More. Our lawyers are happy to assist you with the application.

At Law & More we understand that every situation is different. That is why we use a personal approach. Would you like to know which (other) residence and work permits or exceptions apply in your case and whether you meet the conditions for granting them? Then contact Law & More. Law & More’s lawyers are experts in the field of immigration and employment law, so that they can properly assess your situation and determine together with you which residence and work permit suits your situation and which conditions you must observe. Do you then want to apply for a residence permit or arrange the application for a work permit? Even then, the Law & More specialists are happy to assist you.

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