Employing a foreign employee

You would like to employ a foreign national. Your employee is already in the Netherlands or he/she is still in the foreign country. On this page you can read what you need to arrange for your foreign employee.

Different rules apply to employees with the nationality of an EU/EEA Member State or Switzerland. The free movement of persons applies to them. So they are free to work in the Netherlands.

Duration stay

For all foreign nationals with another nationality applies that the duration of stay determines whether the employee needs to have a residence permit.

Stay of less than 90 days in the Netherlands

Does the employee come to the Netherlands to work for less than 90 days, than he often needs a short-stay visa. You often also have to apply for a TWV.

Cross-border worker
The stay in the Netherlands is also viewed as a short stay when the employee is a cross-border worker.

Residence permits for working in paid employment

There are various residence permits for working in the Netherlands. Which residence permit your employee needs often depends on the job your employee gets. But sometimes you may also choose which application you start. You will find an overview below of the possible residence permits. Click on the link to read the conditions and application procedure for each residence permit.

The information on the pages of the types of residence permits to work is written towards the foreign national. As the employer you can always start the application for your foreign employee. Sometimes you are obliged to start the application.

Intra Corporate Transferee (Directive 2014/66/EU)
The employee works at a company with its registered office outside the European Union (EU) as a trainee, manager or specialist and is transferred to a branch in the Netherlands.

Highly skilled migrant
The employee will work in a high-level position, or as a (guest) lecturer, trainee doctor or researcher in paid employment. Specific salary requirements apply. Your business or organisation must be recognised as a sponsor by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).

European blue card
The European blue card is intended for employees who perform highly skilled work within the EU. Specific salary and educational requirements apply. This residence permit also makes it easier for the employee to work in a different EU Member State.

Researcher within the meaning of Council Directive (EU) 2016/801

The employee will work as a researcher within the meaning of Council Directive (EU) 2016/801. He/she does not have to be paid a salary; he/she may also receive a grant. Your research institution must be recognised as a sponsor by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).

Work in paid employment
Several permits exist for work in paid employment:

Work experience as trainee or apprentice
The employee will do work placement in connection with a study or will go to work for you in order to gain work experience (student on work placement). The employee can also do work placement or gain work experience in the context of an EU action programme.

Seasonal worker
The employee is coming to the Netherlands temporarily to work in the agricultural sector.

Cross-border service provider
The employee works at a company in the EU, EEA or Switzerland. He will provide services for this company in the Netherlands.

Employing a foreign student

Would you like to employ a foreign student who has a residence permit to study in the Netherlands? You can only employ a foreign student if you obtain a work permit TWV for the student.

The student can then:

  • work for a maximum of 16 hours a week; or
  • work full time in the summer months of June, July and August.

If the student works more or if you do not have a work permit for the student, then the student is working illegally. The Inspectorate SZW supervises this and will fine you for illegal employment.

Working during application process to extend or apply for permanent asylum residence

Foreign nationals with a valid temporary asylum residence permit can work in the Netherlands. They can also work and are legally in the Netherlands during the application process to extend or apply for permanent asylum residence. As an employer you do not need to arrange a work permit during these application procedures. This is also stated in the letter that the foreign national receives after submitting such an application. In addition, during these application procedures, foreign nationals can apply for a Foreign Nationals Identity document for foreign nationals (Type W). This document also states that they are entitled to work.


A sponsor is a person or organisation having an interest in the residence of a third-country national in the Netherlands. When you employ a foreign employee, you are the sponsor for this employee. You can be a sponsor for several employees at the same time.

An employer can apply to be recognised as a sponsor by the IND. To submit applications for highly skilled migrants and researcher within the meaning of Council Directive (EU) 2016/801 recognition as a sponsor is obligatory.

Legal obligations

A sponsor has several legal obligations: an obligation to provide information and an obligation to keep records. As a recognised sponsor, you also have a duty of due care. If you are a recognised sponsor for  researchers in the meaning of Directive (EU) 2016/801 other legal obligations apply.

The IND monitors compliance with your legal obligations. If you do not comply with your legal obligations, this can have consequences.

In addition to the legal obligations of the IND, additional legal rules apply. The Inspectie SZW monitors these rules. You are responsible for ensuring that the rules of the Foreign Nationals Employment Act are also complied with. Not only by yourself, but also by the hired employees and the temporary employment agency involved. You otherwise risk a high fine.

Family members of the employee

The family members of your employee can usually come along to the Netherlands. The employee cannot take his family members along only if the employee comes for seasonal work or for work placement or to gain work experience.

Have you been recognised as a sponsor for work-related purposes? You can submit the applications for the family members of your employee. Do the employee and the family members travel to the Netherlands together, than the applications can be submitted at the same time. The family members can also join your employee at a later time. As a recognised sponsor you can still submit the application for your family member.

Have you not been recognised as a sponsor? Your employee himself submits the application for the residence permits for his family members.


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More information

30% facility

Would you like to know more about the 30% facility? Please contact the Belastingdienst (Tax Agency).


​A TWV is a work permit. The employer applies for a TWV with UWV (Netherlands Employees Insurance Agency). UWV examines among other things if there is no employee with the Dutch, EU/EEA or Swiss nationality that is qualified for the job.