Immigration to Netherlands

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Immigration to Netherlands

The Netherlands have experienced sustained growth over the past several years partly due to its favourable position within Europe and its flexible labour force. It remains an attractive country for investment and for foreign nationals to work.

Before an employer can apply for a Netherlands work permit for a non-EEA national, it is normally necessary to show that attempts have been made to fill the position from the local and EEA labour markets. These attempts should include advertising in national newspapers, websites, industry publications, etc. However, the local employment service, or Arbeitsamt, will run searches for EU nationals with the appropriate skills by using the European Employment Services placement network (EURES). Usually Dutch employers should also have looked into training existing employees.

A few years ago the local Dutch labour authorities recognised certain shortages in some types of IT and Telecoms skills and work permit applications could be lodged for relevant IT / Telecoms positions without showing details of the above detailed recruitment search. Due to the current IT situation in Europe, it is not as easy to obtain work permits for IT professionals but it is still easier to do so in comparison to other highly-skilled occupations, and usually does not involve the need to advertise.

Unfortunately, the application process for Netherlands work permits often means that candidates can not even visit the Netherlands to attend meetings while the Netherlands work permit application is being processed, unless they are non-visa nationals.
One attractive aspect of employing foreign nationals in the Netherlands is that many will qualify to receive 35% of their income tax-free. The effect of this is to make the overall tax burden similar to that faced in the UK.

After having lived in the Netherlands for three years on a work permit it is often possible for an individual to obtain permanent residence. Thereafter they are free to take up any lawful employment and no longer require an employer-sponsored work permit.

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