VISA’S / WORK PERMITS in Holland
EU citizens do not require a work permit or a visa since January 2000; they are however (as are non EU/EEA citizens) required to register for a residence permit if they intend to stay for longer than 3 months.
Non EU/EEA citizens require a visa and a work permit, both of which only your employer can apply for. So you must first find a company willing to employ you and apply for the visa and work permit for you. The work permit applies to that specific job, so if you then change jobs, you will need to get another work permit via your new employer.
Our recent experience is that you can expect a 3 - 5 month wait for permits to be issued. Transfer time to change a work permit from one employer to another is typically 2 - 4 months.
To register in Holland You must follow the following steps. The steps should be followed in the sequence shown below, but do check office hours in advance as morning only registration is common, and as yet there is no "EU citizens" desk, long queues form especially in the larger city offices.
First step - registration
EU/EEA citizens must register with their local Foreign Police registration office (Vreemdelingenpolitie) within 8 days of arrival. If you are intending to look for work (and are without a work contract) and want to take advantage of the free movement of labour within the European Union then you must simply present your passport at the Foreign Police Registration Office. With a (non temporary) work contract, you must present your passport, the contract, two non-machine passport type photographs and the appropriate fee. In certain cases those with temporary contracts will have to report back for renewal, and another fee may be payable. (The permit issued on proof of acceptable work contracts will more than likely be a magnetic card with your photograph affixed).
Second step - SOFI number
If you are a first time jobseeker in the Netherlands you will need to obtain a SOFI number (Social Welfare/Taxation) from the local Tax Office (Belastingdienst). You will need to take your passport together with the police permit from Step 1. If you have worked previously in the Netherlands the old SOFI Number may suffice.
Third step - residence permits
If you intend to look for work for more than 3 months then you must apply for a residence permit (Verblijfsvergunning). This can be obtained from the Town Hall or community office - "Stadhuis" or "Gemeente". You can ask the Police at Step 1 if in doubt about the location and office hours of items 2 and 3. You will need to present your passport, police permit, SOFI number, two photographs, a full version of your birth certificate, and in some cities (i.e. Amsterdam) proof from your landlord that you have a permanent address.
NB Local Authorities are much more independent of Central Government than may be the case in your country so allow for variations in procedures. Don't forget to deregister with the Police and Town Hall when you are leaving the country permanently! Further more the company You will be working for might have a different agreement with the Dutch Authorities, so check internally with P&O / Relocation!
Citizens of the non-EU countries need a work permit. Work permits are issued by the Ministry of Social Affairs in The Hague through the District Labor Bureau. An application must be made by the employer at least 6 weeks before the beginning of employment. The employer have to show that the vacancy cannot be filled by someone from the registered work force (being Dutch nationals or EU and EEA nationals or legal immigrants who are allowed to work) and must provide proof of having carried out an extensive search for someone from registered work force to fill the vacancy during a period of at least five weeks. It is nearly impossible to get a work permit for unskilled labor or non executive positions.
The work permit is given usually for a period of maximum one year. After one year, the work permit can be extended for a period of three and a half years. The application to renew the work permit must be made at least 5 weeks before the expiration of the current one. The work permit is granted to the company and is valid only for the specified position. Changing the employer will make necessary another work permit application from the new employer. In this case there will be not need for the MVV visa and the application can take up to 6 weeks. However the work permit will be granted only for the period covered by the current residence permit. For renewal, the company must prove that the vacancy cannot be filled by a EU national. Of course there are good chances to succeed in such an application if the procedure is prepared with care by the Human Resources Department of that company.
After working continuously for three years with the same work-permit, there will be no need anymore for a work permit and jobs can be changed freely.
The work contract is made between the employer and the employee. There are several things which are by default present in such a contract according to the Dutch law. The minimum number of holiday days is 25 and there is a holiday allowance of about 8% of the bruto annual wage. The contract specifies the duration and if there is a probation period or not. Usually it is. This can take a few months and is paid less than the period after the probation period.
If you come the first time in Holland is better to discuss with the employer the accommodation possibilities and ask also help in this respect.
After 6 months to one year of work, there is a possibility to get a permanent work contract. The permanent contract is very useful when applying for a mortgage or a loan in general.
Residence permit - MVV Visa
For non EU citizens an application for the work permit is usually accompanied with an application for a visa for temporary residence (MVV visa) to enter Netherlands. Non EU nationals must apply for the MVV visa in the country of origin. It is not possible to apply for a work permit within Netherlands if for instance you posses a visitor (tourist) visa. The application must be backed up by a letter of intention of the company who applies for the work permit in Netherlands. The application is submitted to and sent by the Embassy or Consulate in the country of origin to the Netherlands authorities.
There are various factors which can decide the total time to wait for the application to successfully finalize. The waiting time (which can include also the work permit application) can vary between three months to one year. The only way to speed things up is to have in Netherlands relocation support from a company familiar with the application procedures. Usually, the employer hires such a company, if not, it should be useful to suggest this possibility to the Human Resources Department of the company which might not be aware of the usefulness of this if is pursuing for the first time for a work permit application. If the work permit is granted by the labor authorities, the Ministry of Justice (http://www.minjust.nl/) and Foreign Affairs (http://www.minbz.nl/) send a positive advice back to the Embassy or Consulate to issue the MVV visa. the MVV (Machtiging voor Voorlopig Verblijf) is a visa which gives right of temporary residence and allows the applicant once in Netherlands to apply for a permanent residence permit. The bureaucratic procedures of sending the application from one office to another including the sending to the Embassy by diplomatic courier will take about two to three months of the total time.
The permanent residence permit
Once you have entered the country you must register to the Foreign Police in the district of your residence and apply for a residence permit. At the moment of the first application there will be also a visit to the city hall which have an office in the same place where the police is. It is compulsory to register your address of staying therefore one must be also in the possession of a renting contract or a declaration from the company regarding the accommodation means. Other necessary paper are the passport and a birth certificate which must be legalized by the Dutch authorities. The legalization can be done in Netherlands, or better, in the country of origin at the Dutch Embassy/ Consulate.
The permit is granted for maximum 1 year and has to be renewed every year. After 5 consecutive years of residence is possible to apply for the Dutch citizenship.
The application for the new residence permit must be made at least with 4 weeks before the expiration date of the current one. Usually the Foreign Police sends an application form to the the home address of the resident and if the application is granted then the new residence permit can be picked up in 4 weeks from the Foreign Police. If this is not happening 6 weeks before the expiration then is better to check with the Foreign police because you are the only one responsible to apply within the legal term for the new residence permit. It is important to know that if the application is not sent within the legal term the authorities have the right of expulsion and the application has again to be made in the country of origin.
The passport must be valid at least 13 months from the start of the validity of the residence permit, otherwise the period of the validity of the residence permit will be smaller than one year (maximum passport validity minus two months) If during the staying in Netherlands the validity of the passport approach this delicate limit is better to exchange it or prolong its validity at the Embassy of the country of origin in Netherlands (for a list of the embassies and consulates in the Netherlands visit (http://bob.minbuza.nl/cccd_start.asp)
Everyone must be health insured in Netherlands. An insurance can be concluded at any insurance company. When applying for the residence permit one must be already in the possession of a health insurance. The insurance companies usually will not issue a permanent one until you are registered at the city hall. Instead is often used a 23 days general insurance which cost around € 4,00 per day and can be concluded by any person who stay in Nederland.
Health care is expensive and if not covered by the insurance can be a dreadful experience. In most cases the dental care is not by default covered by a normal insurance so is worthwhile choosing one which covers it. The difference in price is not huge but makes a lot of difference. One must pay good attention to the agreement. There are a lot of details which can by tricky. For instance changing to a more expensive insurance which covers also the dental care will not cover it until a certain time passes by. This is because insurance companies don't want to allow changing between different coverage just for the duration you might be in need of a certain coverage. So is better to pay a comprehensive insurance from the very beginning. The price per month for such an insurance can be from € 80,00 NLG at ZAO to a few hundreds of EURO’s to another companies depending of course of multiple factors. For a salary bellow € 35.000.-per year you can take benefit of the Ziekenfonds insurance which is the cheapest way to do it.
Taxes in Nederland
The WEB site of the tax authorities can be found at http://www.belastingdienst.nl/
All wages in Netherlands are paid to a bank account, never in cash. The first think one should do after signing the contract with the employer is to set up a bank account to receive the payment.
Providing the fact you have already obtained your work permit and your residence permit, in order to receive payment from the employer there is one more step to be done, you must file for a social fiscal (SoFi) number. This number is necessary for receiving wages and for tax registration. SoFi numbers are available at the national revenue service (Rijksbelastingdienst). The number is unique for every person in Netherlands and should be kept secret because it could be misused by other person in regards with the taxes for which you must file every year.
Q. How fast can I get a SoFI number to receive my salary?
A. First the residence permit has to be issued. Next, the Foreign Police send a letter to the Tax Authorities informing them that you are entitled as an alien to a SoFI number. So minimum waiting time is equal with 4 weeks + duration needed by Foreign Police to send the letter + registration of police request at the Belasting dienst = about 2 months.
The Dutch language can be learned in many schools. The government has given important attention to the integration of foreigners into the Dutch culture and language is one o the basic tools for this goal. As well as for all other things in Netherlands one must register for a course. The place will be granted by basis of availability in the schools around your residence area. Of course, private lessons will eliminate the waiting time but at a high cost. Further more nearly all Dutch speak fluently English
The official site for regional education can be found at http://ww.roc.nl/
Choosing the government subsidized schools bring costs of about 150 NLG for three months which can be regarded as administration costs. Those who benefit from an integration contract (like spouses of workers who joined them in Netherlands) get this opportunity for free and also free books which otherwise have to be paid by the cursist. The free courses can be followed until a certain level of knowledge is obtained. On a scale from1 to 5 usually the firs 3 levels can be done without costs for persons who benefit of an integration contract. At the free University lessons are also available but for bigger costs. The quality of the subsidized courses are by many regarded as not as professional as other methods. In fact this might not be true at all. Before any lessons starts, an interview is taken. Based on certain criteria, people with the same learning capabilities will learn together in group. During the learning process, the group can be changed towards another one which provides a different speed or a different method. The process is thus a very flexible one aimed to give the best solution for a lot of different individuals.
Applying to Dutch lessons can be done at the so called "Centrale Intake" centers which have offices around the country. In Amsterdam this office can be found at the following address:
Elisabeth Wolffstraat 2
1052 RR Amsterdam
Spouses - MVV visa
The spouses of non-EU citizens can join their wife/husband if their spouse have already obtained a residence permit and their income and accommodation can support both persons. The spouse application for the MVV visa will be done as well in the country of origin. Six months is a common term for an application to finalize. To prove the relation with the working spouse in the Netherlands, the best way to make the things clear is for the working spouse to legalize at the Dutch Embassy in the country of origin the marriage certificate and to declare the marital status and the spouse name and other relevant information at the moment of registration at the city hall when applying for the first residence permit.
Rights of a spouse
The spouse will not have the right to work unless the employer will apply for a work permit. Only after the working spouse has been working in Netherlands for three years continuously with a work permit will both partners get a residence permit with which they can freely enter the labor market.
The spouse is entitled to a SoFi number and though cannot work, this entitles the working spouse to have an extra 9000 NLG not taxed every year until 2001. Beginning with the new tax regulations from 200, this rule is changed, the spouse will receive directly from the TAX authorities a netto amount of 277 NLG per month. The amount is taken from the salary of the working spouse.
A spouse will usually enter a free integration program offered by the government. Language training and an orientation program with the help of qualified advisors is offered for free but also put certain demands on the person who follows this program. One important thing to know is that while this program is very useful it is also compulsory to follow, so if you don't agree to do it, there are pressures on you and the working spouse to follow it!
The public transport is unified. The payment is made by the number of zones which are crossed. The "Nationale Strippenkaart" is the most used method for paying the fare. The rule is to stamp at the stamp automat outside or within the vehicle a total amount of strips equals with 2 for one zone and an extra strip for every subsequent zone crossed. The zone borders can be seen in the station maps or in the vehicle. Once stamped, the Strippenkaart allows travel within the zones for a maximum amount of time, including changing of transportation vehicles like metro, tram and bus. Failing to show a valid ticket to an inspector will give you a fine of € 40,- plus the fare price.
The national rail company can be found at http://www.ns.nl/. You can get a reduction of 40% of the standard price for you and another accompanying 3 persons if you buy a reduction card for € 65,- per year (Voordeel-urenkaart). The owner of such card has also free entrance to several museums across the country For some trajects also the strip card can be used inside the train. Otherwise a ticket can be bought from the stations Automats. Failing to show a valid ticket in the train will not give you a fine but a more expensive ticket will be offered by the conductor for a price ranging between 3 to 6 times the normal fare.
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