The Netherlands offer a thriving economy, a generous taxation system, and a pleasant environment in which to live. All of these factors make it a popular choice for those wishing to relocate. However, obtaining a work visa in the Netherlands is not an easy process for those who are residents outside of the EU.

It’s usually the prospective employer who requests the work visa on behalf of the person they are seeking to employ. The work visa is only valid for the employer who requests it and is no longer applicable when the employee leaves the job. You can’t obtain a general work visa for the Netherlands.

Here are some guidelines on how you could obtain a work visa in the Netherlands.

1. EU and EEA residents
If you live in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, you are entitled to free movement within these countries and, as such, you don’t need a visa. If you are travelling to the Netherlands to carry out occasional work or short-term roles like lecturers or musicians, you don’t need a work visa.

2. Types of work visas for foreign nationals
For foreign nationals, the main types of work visa applicable to the Netherlands are:
GVVA or single permit
Highly skilled migrant permit
Entrepreneur permit

3. GVVA or single permit
This type of visa combines a Dutch residency visa and a document stating which employer you’ll be working for. Before this visa application can be filed by your employer, they must provide evidence that they have unsuccessfully tried to recruit someone from within the Netherlands and the EU to fill that vacancy.

Your employer will need to submit the GVVA application to the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). Once the fee has been paid and the necessary documentation submitted, the IND will seek permission from the Dutch social security agency for the prospective employee to live and work in the Netherlands.
Once permission is granted, you’ll be able to pick up your GVVA documents in person.
You can’t apply for a GVVA if you are a student, an asylum seeker, a seasonal worker or someone who only intends to work in the Netherlands for less than three months.

4. Highly skilled migrant pemit
This program is designed to enable Dutch employers to employ highly skilled and talented foreign professionals into their organisations for retraining. Your employer will not be required to prove that they could not find anyone suitable from the Netherlands or the EU if you are offered employment on this basis.
To qualify, you must have skills and experience that can be defined as specialist and scarce, together with several years of relevant work experience, a specialism, and a qualification at Bachelor level as a minimum. If you work within the medical profession or as a university lecturer, you could qualify under this visa category.

5. Work visa for self-employed or entrepreneurs
If you want to work in the Netherlands on a self-employed basis, you’ll need to apply for a residence visa for self-employment.
Your business must demonstrate that it will provide a substantial benefit to the Netherlands and this will be tested by experts in the relevant Dutch government ministry. A points system is used to make the decision. You’ll be awarded points depending on your personal experience, the nature and financial situation of your business, and the likely value it will bring to the Netherlands in the form of investment, employment creation and innovation.
In all cases, once you’ve been working and living in the Netherlands for five years, you don’t need a work visa. This means that you could change jobs if you wanted to without having to apply for a new work visa.

There’s no doubt that the Netherlands is a wonderful place to settle and work in, but obtaining a visa can be complicated. Your prospective employer should handle all the paperwork for you, but it’s well worth seeking the advice of an immigration specialist to make sure all goes smoothly.
Have you moved to the Netherlands? What was the work visa process like in your experience? Let us know in the comments section below!