Employing a foreign employee

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

The information on this page does not apply for employing 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.

Sponsor or recognised sponsor

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

As an employer you can apply to be recognised as a sponsor by the IND. Recognised sponsors profit from a faster and easier application procedure for the employee's residence permit. Recognition as a sponsor is obligatory to submit applications for highly skilled migrants and researcher within the meaning of Council Directive (EU) 2016/801. Read more about applying for recognition as a sponsor by the IND.

Legal obligations (recognised) sponsor

A sponsor has several legal obligations.  For more information about these obligations, please visit the web page Legal obligations (recognised) sponsor labour-related purposes. Or the web page Legal obligations recognised sponsor researcher (Directive (EU) 2016/801). 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.

Visa or residence permit employee

Does your employee have the nationality of an EU/EEA Member State or Switzerland? The free movement of persons applies to them. Your employee is free to work in the Netherlands. For all foreign nationals with another nationality applies that the duration of stay in the Netherlands determines whether the employee needs to have a residence permit.

Stay of less than 90 days 

Does the employee come to the Netherlands to work for less than 90 days? Then the employee 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.

Stay of more than 90 days

To work for more than 90 days in the Netherlands, the employee needs a residence permit.

Residence permits for work

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. As the employer you can always start the application for your foreign employee. Sometimes you are obliged to start the application.

Are you a recognised sponsor? Watch the animation video 'How do I, as a recognised sponsor, hire an employee from abroad?' for an explanation in 5 steps. Or read the transcript.


Knowledge and Talent

Several residence permits exist for work that falls under knowledge and talent. Click on the link to read the conditions and application procedure for each residence permit.

  • 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. You must be recognised as a sponsor for Labour to employ a highly skilled migrant.
  • 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. You must be recognised as a sponsor for Research to employ a researcher.

  • Essential start-up personnel (pilot)
    The employee will work with a start-up in the Netherlands and will have an essential role that helps the start-up grow. The employee will receive a salary and an employee participation in the company.  

Work in paid employment

Several residence permits exist for work in paid employment. Click on the link to read the conditions and application procedure for each residence permit.

Other residence permits for work

Some other residence permits for work exist. Click on the link to read the conditions and application procedure for each residence permit.

  • 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.

Family members of the employee

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

Have you been recognised as a sponsor for Labour? 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? Then your employee should submit the application for the residence permits for the family members.

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.

 Script Editor

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.