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Illegal employment / Fines

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.

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