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Work permit (GVVA/TWV)

When an employer in the Netherlands wants to hire a non-EU employee, who does not fall within the scope of the intra-company transfer (ICT) programhighly skilled migrant program or EU Blue card program, it may be possible to apply for a GVVA: a combined permit for work and stay.

Single permit for residence and work (GVVA)

With the GVVA permit, the foreign employee simultaneously obtains legal stay and work authorization in the Netherlands. The application is filed in a single procedure and results in one decision and one ID document: the ‘residence card’. The GVVA application procedure is laid down in EU Directive 2011/98.

Usually, the employer will apply for the GVVA, but the employee can do so as well. For this procedure, an employer does not need to be a recognized sponsor.

A GVVA is a suitable permit for certain professions in the Netherlands.

Which professions are suitable for a GVVA application?

Examples of professions suitable for a GVVA application are:

  • professional sportspeople / athletes
    For instance, in case of a non-EU sportsperson the UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) decides whether the application falls within the scope of the policy for sportspeople. It depends on the (level of) sport and the salary in the concerned sports market whether it is possible to arrange legal work and stay for employees in the sports industry. For more information, contact Bram van Melle.
  • cooks or chefs employed in Asian catering
    Until 1 January 2022, a special regulation applied to situations where employers in the Asian catering industry wanted to hire a specialized chef from outside the EU. See our news item on the termination of this special regulation here. The special regulation remains applicable to chefs who came to the Netherlands under this regulation. For new chefs, the regular GVVA procedure applies including the labor market test as described on this page. For more information, please contact Lotte van Diepen or Adam Diels.
  • arts/entertainment professionals: creative industries
  • spiritual counsellors, monks or nuns
  • staff of non-profit organizations

Regular work permit (TWV)

In other cases, a regular, separate, work permit (TWV) is required; the employer should make the work permit application. An application must be submitted to the UWV (Employee Insurance Agency). Only an employer can apply for a work permit, not the employee themselves. A residence permit, if required, must be applied for separately with the IND.

More favorable rules apply to Turkish nationals and their family members.

When is a regular work permit (TWV) required?

Examples are:

  • The foreign employee already has a Dutch residence permit, but has no, or limited, work authorization and wants to take up (more) work in the Netherlands, e.g., students.
  • The foreign employee will come to the Netherlands for less than 3 months and wants to work during this time. Although a residence permit is not required, a work permit is.
  • seasonal workers

Other cases: the labor market test

When an employer wants to hire a person from outside the EU, but not for any of the occupations mentioned above, it is theoretically possible to apply for a GVVA. For such an application, a labour market test is mandatory. The employer must have made an effort to recruit staff locally or within the European labor market first, and then must be able to demonstrate that no suitable candidates are available from within the EU. Only then, the labor market test will result in a positive advice.

Due to the strictness of the labor market test, issuance of a ‘regular’ GVVA permit is rare. It is almost impossible to prove that no suitable staff is available on the Dutch or European market. The application will be rejected in most cases.

If you wonder whether this scenario could apply to you, we recommend contacting our lawyers for advice about your options.

Depending on the job description and circumstances, the following programs could be more suitable:

For more information, please contact us.

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