Do you intend to work in the creative industries in the Netherlands as an employee and do you have non-EU nationality? Then special rules apply. Freelancers can apply for a residence permit as entrepreneur. For work in paid employment, a combined permit for work and stay (GVVA) is required.
Work in paid employment
Do you want to work for a Dutch employer in the Dutch creative industries? Then you need a combined permit for work and stay (GVVA). You can file the application yourself, but your employer is likely to do it for you. The IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service) issues the permit.
For top positions in the sectors of dance, classical music, opera, musical, theatre and the cultural field, the labour market test is not required; this means that an employer is not obliged to search for suitable candidates in the Netherlands or other EU countries before he can hire a non- EU employee.
The following conditions apply for this sector:
- your position is a top position within the cultural industries. This categorization depends on your monthly salary. You can find the benchmark amounts here
- your monthly salary meets the collective agreement benchmark for the position concerned
- the organization of your employer is registered with the Chamber of Commerce (if this is required based on the Trade Register Law 2007)
The GVVA permit is issued for a maximum period of 1 year; you can apply for a new one before this permit expires. You may only work for the employer the permit was issued for. If you want to work for another employer, you need to apply for a new GVVA permit.
You can also apply for a residence permit for your partner or children as dependents. Your partner will not have free access to the labor market: he/she needs a separate GVVA permit for any kind of work, even if he/she works for you.
If your work as a freelancer in the creative field serves the Dutch cultural interest, you can apply for a residence permit as entrepreneur. The IND (Immigration and Naturalization Service) consults the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in this respect.
The following conditions apply:
- you have at least 3 future projects lined up in the Dutch creative arts sector
- you earn sufficient income
- you register with the Chamber of Commerce
- you register at a Dutch address in the civil registry
- you have a health insurance
- you do not present a threat to public order
Processing of your application can take up to 6 months. During this period, you may only do preparatory work in the Netherlands, provided you have a valid visa or residence permit.
If you are a foreign student in the Netherlands, you can (within 3 years of graduation) apply for the orientation year permit, to find work or gain work experience. Read more about the orientation period here.
It is important to determine the right moment of submitting your application. We advise to submit the application as soon as you have some level of certainty over 3 upcoming projects.
The residence permit
The residence permit for freelancers is valid for 2 years and can be extended with 5 years, as long as you meet the following conditions:
- you still work as an artist
- you meet the income requirement
- you did not apply for social welfare benefits or other public funds
- you have a clean criminal record
This residence permit exclusively allows you to perform activities as freelancer in the creative industries. You need a separate work permit for any other kind of work.
You can also apply for a residence permit for your partner or children, as dependents. Your partner will not have free access to the labor market: he/she needs a separate work permit for any kind of work, even if he/she works for you.
Every spring, Everaert Advocaten Immigration Lawyers organizes a free information evening for artists and creatives from outside the EU who wish to work in the Netherlands. The information is mainly aimed at foreign students of Dutch art academies, conservatories and other art institutes, who are looking to stay in the Netherlands after graduation, but recent graduates are also welcome to attend the evening. This year's event took place on Thursday, 29 March. Read more about it here.
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