Working as an employee

​Regular labour concerns employees who are in paid employment, other than seasonal labour or gaining work experience.

Any employer with a branch in the Netherlands or who is represented in the Netherlands by an authorised commercial agent may apply for a residence permit for regular labour. Your organisation must be listed in the Commercial Register of the Chamber of Commerce, insofar as this is required under the Commercial Registers Act 2007. Your organisation does not have to be recognised as a sponsor.

Single permit

In order to be able to employ a foreign employee, you must submit an application for a single permit. This is a permit that entitles the foreign national to stay and work in the Netherlands.

The residence permit and the work permit are combined in the single permit. You only have to apply for one permit, at one authority (the IND).

The single permit consists of a residence permit and an additional document stating for which employer the foreign national is permitted to work and under which conditions.

Exceptions to the single permit procedure

It is not possible to follow the procedure for the single permit for every foreign employee. For some groups of employees you cannot use this procedure, for example for seasonal labour. In those cases, you will have to apply for a work permit at UWV.

For other employees, such as highly skilled migrants or correspondents employed by a publicity medium, neither a work permit nor a single permit is required. This does also apply to Japanese nationals.

For more information, please visit the Klantdienstwijzer

General conditions for the single permit

  • The employee holds a valid passport.
  • The employee does not pose a danger to public order or national security.
  • The employee is obliged to take out a health insurance policy.
  • The employee must undergo a tuberculosis (TB) test in the Netherlands. The employee must have undergone this test within 3 months following the issue of the residence permit. If necessary, the employee must undergo treatment for TB. Some nationalities do not have to undergo a TB test.

Depending on the situation, additional conditions apply to the single permit. These additional conditions are set out in the Klantdienstwijzer.

The IND checks the conditions for residency; UWV will be asked to check the criteria as stipulated in the Foreign Nationals Employment Act (Wav). An application for a single permit must therefore also comply with the criteria (only available in Dutch) for each categorie as prescribed in the Foreign Nationals Employment Act (Wav). 


Categories Wav for paid employment

The Wav distinguishes the following categories:

  • Spiritual counsellor:
    • Employed as a spiritual leader of service by a religious or philosophical organisation.
    • Monks and nuns and internal officers
  • Employment in connection with the supply of goods TO a foreign company.
  • Employment in connection with the supply of goods BY a foreign company.
  • To gain work experience for study purposes (trainee for study purposes)
  • To gain work experience for employment purposes (trainee for employment purposes)
  • Specific jobs in art & culture
  • Work in paid employment (other)
Please note that as of 1 July 2014 intra-company transfers no longer fall within the scope of the single permit. For intra-company transferees, namely trainees, specialists and key personnel, it is no longer possible to start the single permit procedure. Employers will need to apply for 2 separate applications: a TWV with the UWV and a residence permit with the IND.

Submit your application for an extension of your single permit in time

If you have a single permit that expires within 3 months, please make sure to have it extended in time. The same applies if you have a residence permit as an employee (issued before 1 April 2014) and you now need a single permit.

The statutory decision period for the IND to assess and issue your application is 90 days. Within this period the IND will request the advice of UWV. UWV will advise the IND within 5 weeks. Based on this advice, the IND can then make its decision on your application. Therefore, please bear in mind that it will take between 7 weeks and 90 days before a decision on your application is made.


During the assessment of your application, you are only allowed to work if you have:

  • A valid residence permit and work permit (TWV), or
  • A valid single permit, or
  • An additional document stating that you are allowed to work. 

For this reason, do submit the application in time, in any event 3 months before the duration of your current residence permit expires. By doing so, you will avoid the risk that you may not be able to work (temporarily) after the validity of your current residence permit / single permit has expired. 

In general, the IND will send you a letter about 3 months before the validity of your current residence permit expires, to remind you of the possibility to apply for an extension. The letter in question includes an application form with your personal details and questions applicable only to you. If you have not received this letter, you can then make use of one of the application forms (in Dutch) listed on the IND website. 
However, do not submit an application if your current residence permit is still valid for more than 6 months. This, namely, could be a reason for the IND to reject your application, as your situation may in fact change in the meantime.


Letter with additional information

The letter (only available in Dutch) contains additional information you need when or if you are going to submit an application for a Single permit (GVVA). The information concerns the Single permit procedure, the period of time needed and the importance of submitting your application in time.