IMPACT – Medium

What are the changes? On Jan. 1, 2014, a law covering foreign workers has been amended to revamp the work permit regime and put new requirements on companies that post foreign employees in the Netherlands.

What does the change mean? Highly-skilled migrants, intracompany transferees (ICTs) and EU Blue Card holders must hold work permits for five years before getting full access to the Dutch labor market.

  • Implementation timeframe: Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Visas/permits affected: All work permits.
  • Who is affected: All non-EU nationals assigned to the Netherlands.
  • Impact on processing times: None.
  • Business impact: The changes will add an administrative burden to employers who must renew work permits more frequently. Employers’ sponsorship duties are also extended from three years to five years.
  • Next steps: Employers should be aware of the longer waiting period and mark their calendars so they do not miss expiration and renewal dates for work permits.

Background: Amendments to the Dutch Employment of Foreigners Act will take effect on Jan. 1. The main change is that all work-permitted non-EU nationals must wait a consecutive five years before work permit restrictions are removed. Currently, they can get full access to the Dutch labor market after three consecutive years.

As under current law, work permits will be valid for three years. Employers must renew work permits to reach the five-year threshold. The new law will take effect without grandfathering pending applications. Therefore, any applications that are not decided by the end of the year will come under the new rules.

Other provisions in the amendments tighten the rules on regular work permits for foreign workers who do not fall under the categories of highly-skilled migrants, intracompany transferees or EU Blue Card holders. These provisions, which aim to curb the influx of unskilled labor, shorten the work permit duration to one year and impose annual labor market testing on employers.

BAL Analysis: Companies posting non-EU nationals in the Netherlands must renew work permits more frequently. Employers should also note that because assignees will be subject to work permits for an additional two years before restrictions are removed, employers are subject to sponsorship duties for a prolonged period.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network partner in the Netherlands. For additional information, please contact

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