I Want to Hire People from Abroad. Which Work and Residence Permits do I need?
Top tip: start the application process for work and residence permits as soon as possible. This may seem obvious, but late applications are most often responsible for delays in the future employee’s start date. Even here in the Netherlands, where the immigration system is relatively (and we mean only relatively) straightforward to navigate.
Employees from the EEA & Switzerland
Which permit you will need for your new employee depends on several factors, the most important one being which nationality they have. If they are from a country belonging to the EEA (European Economic Area, consisting of the EU plus Lichtenstein, Norway and Iceland) or Switzerland, you don’t need to do much, as there are agreements in place that guarantee free movement of workers. The same goes for the UK during the transition period, currently expected to last until the end of 2020.
Register & BSN
The one thing the employee from the EEA or Switzerland needs to do is to register themselves at the municipality they will reside in whilst in the Netherlands. Only after they’ve registered at the municipality will they be able to obtain a BSN (citizen service number), which they usually need in order to get, for instance, health insurance. You, the employer, can use their BSN as the employee’s unique personal number when communicating with governmental authorities. Many companies also use this number when paying the employee’s salary.
Is that all you need to do? Probably. However, depending on the length of their stay and its specific purpose (is it just for work, for an internship or study plus work?) you and they may also need to take other measures. So it’s always a good idea to get to the bottom of the employee’s specific situation before anyone packs their suitcase.
Employees from outside the EEA
If you are hiring an employee from outside the EEA or Switzerland, the process gets more complex. There is an almost endless variety of possible permits, depending on the nationality of the employee coming to the Netherlands and if there are any agreements between the country of nationality and the Netherlands or the EEA. On top of that, the laws and regulations are ever-changing, so it’s almost impossible to keep track of these unless it’s your full-time job. However, it may be good to get an inkling of the schemes that are used most.