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Update 2019

Holders of a residence permit Working Holiday Program (WHP) or Working Holiday Scheme (WHS) and their employers should beware: only incidental work is still permitted.

In the context of exchange (WHS/WHP), young people with Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, South Korean or Argentinian nationality may, under certain conditions, temporarily stay in the Netherlands in order to become acquainted with Dutch society and culture. The Netherlands has signed an international agreement (MoU) with these countries. WHS/WHP residence permits will be granted one time for a maximum period of one year. Under the WHP with South Korea and Argentina a maximum of 100 permits will be granted per year. 

Conditions for the WHS/WHP exchange:
Young people who apply for a WHS/WHP residence permit must:

  • not be younger than 18 years and not older than 30 years at the time that they submit their application;
  • have a return ticket (or sufficient resources to purchase a return ticket) in order to ensure their timely return;
  • never have previously lived in the Netherlands within the context of the exchange program;
  • have access to sufficient financial means so as to not burden public resources.

In order to not be a burden on public resources, the young people may work during their stay in the Netherlands.

Policy change
For Dutch employers, the WHS/WHP residence permits were an ideal way to employ foreign nationals from Argentina, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea for one year, because they were not required to apply for work permits for them. On October 1, 2017, a policy change was introduced with the intention to render this impossible. Although the holders of WHS/WHP residence permits still have free entry into the labor market, they may only do “incidental work”. What is understood by that is not apparent in the policy. Emphasized in the explanation, is that the WHP/WHS residence permit is not intended for regular labor migrants, highly-skilled migrants, students or au pairs. They must, whether or not via a recognized sponsor, apply for a regular residence permit for that specific purpose, according to the explanation. 

Consequences of policy change
Young people from Argentina, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea who want to come to the Netherlands with a WHP/WHS residence permit and want to show, with a regular employment contract, that they have sufficient financial resources, run the risk that their application will be refused when they are assessed by the IND not to be in compliance with the restrictions of their stay because they are working more than incidentally. Holders of the residence permit must also take into account that their permit might be revoked if they work more than incidentally since they would no longer be fulfilling the requirement under which the WHP/WHS residence permit was granted.

Do you have questions?
Do you have a WHP/WHS residence permit or are you an employer? Please contact Thomas van Houwelingen for advice regarding the policy change or the exchange program in general.

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