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A Dutch employer needs a work permit for all non-EU employees, granted prior to the start of the actual employment. In order to qualify for a permit, the employer (and employee) must meet certain conditions. We advise employers about these conditions and possible alternatives. Naturally, we can assist in filing the application for a work permit. 

Illegal employment

If an employer is found to have employed a non-EU national illegally, meaning without the mandatory work permit, the Inspectorate SZW (formerly known as the Labor Inspectorate), can impose a hefty fine. Fines may vary from a written warning to €8000, depending on the company size and several factual circumstances. The Inspectorate imposes fines per infringement of the rules and per employee that is employed without a proper permit.

When it comes to imposing fines, the legal meaning of the terms ‘employment’, ‘employee’ and ‘employer’ is stretched to cover a wide range of factual situations. Also, more than one party can be considered as employer; for instance when employees are hired through a separate contracting company.

The Inspectorate SZW is always obliged to adjust the amount of the fine if it turns out to be disproportionate. In almost all cases, you will have to argue this yourself. The most important arguments in this respect are what measures you took to prevent illegal employment and the extent to which your company will face financial difficulties due to the amount of the fine.

A fine. What next?

A long administrative procedure often precedes the imposition of a fine. As soon as the Inspectorate announces an investigation or a possible fine, Everaert Advocaten Immigration Lawyers can represent your company in the administrative procedure and take over all correspondence with the Inspectorate.

If a fine was already imposed, we can represent you in administrative and - if necessary - court proceedings including the Council of State (the High Administrative Court). Everaert Advocaten Immigration Lawyers handles this type of cases regularly and successfully, often resulting in moderation or annulment of the fine.

The column on the right shows all news articles published on our website on the topic of illegal employment and fines.

Preventing a fine

If you work with non-EU nationals and you are worried a fine might be imposed on your company in the future, we can advise you about implementing and/or improving measures to ensure compliance. This way you can minimize the risk of a fine and you will be better prepared if the Inspectorate decides to pay you a visit.


Please keep in mind that it is also in the interest of your employees to make sure their permits are in order. For them, a fine could mean their future application for a (different type of) residence permit gets rejected. Therefore, it’s in everyone’s best interest within your company that you avoid fines by the Inspectorate.


For more information, please contact Bram van Melle or Nikki Vreede.

No more fines for delayed payment of Blue Card holders

In a judgment dated 20 March 2019, the court of The Hague held that there is no separate obligation for the employer of a Blue Card holder to transfer the salary to the Blue Card holder’s bank account every month. That means only the salary criterion is decisive for meeting the conditions of the Blue Card.

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SZW fines control: standard fine is excessive according to the high administrative court

On December 14, 2016, in a procedure concerning fines imposed by the Inspectorate of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW or labor inspection) on the grounds of the Foreign Nationals Employment Act (Wav), the high court determined that the standard amount for violating Article 15 of the Wav was set too high by the Minister of SZW.

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Freedom of labor provision EU: court nullifies ‘WAV’ fines

The Court in Amsterdam has nullified several fines this week. The fines were imposed based on the Employment by Foreign Nationals Act (Wav), which specifies when a foreign worker is permitted to work in The Netherlands.

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SZW Inspectorate Publishes Outcome of Investigations

Effective from 1 January 2016 the Inspectorate must publish the results of any investigations carried out under the Foreign Nationals (Employment) Act (‘Wav’), the Minimum Wage Act (‘WML’) and the Placement of Personnel by Intermediaries Act (‘Waadi’).

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Further to Decision of Council of State: New EU Citizens Worse Off than Japanese

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Council of State: Current Fine Policy for Illegal Employment is Unreasonable

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Spontaneous Advice Council of State on Administrative Penalties

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