How to Work in the Netherlands as a Foreigner: Everything You Need to Know
If you’re living in the Netherlands and would like to find work, you’ll find that there are many opportunities. The Dutch workforce is ethnically diverse, and many companies hire employees based on their skills and qualifications regardless of their nationality. If you want to know how to work in the Netherlands as a foreigner, then this guide will tell you everything you need to know!
The Netherlands has long been known as one of the friendliest countries in the world and the Dutch have traditionally welcomed outsiders with open arms, making it an excellent country to work and live in if you’re looking to move there from another country. It is one of the best countries in the world to work in, thanks to its fantastic reputation as a multicultural society and its thriving job market.
As a foreign national moving to the Netherlands, you’ll have plenty of opportunities available to you — but there are some things you should know about how to work in the Netherlands before you start sending out your CV or writing cover letters. Here’s everything you need to know about finding work in the Netherlands as a foreigner.
The Netherlands is one of the most foreigner-friendly countries in the world, and it’s easy to see why. The country offers great living conditions, excellent quality of life, and plenty of different ways to make money while residing there. The Dutch are known for their tolerance, open-mindedness, and general enthusiasm for life. They also work hard, with 66 percent of people aged 15–64 employed—compared to an EU average of 64 percent. But when it comes to finding work in the Netherlands as a foreigner, there are some definite do’s and don’ts. Before you get started, make sure you have your paperwork sorted out—it’s crucial that you understand how taxes and healthcare work before you start work. Continue reading to learn more about how to work in the Netherlands as a foreigner.
Working in the Netherlands
There are plenty of opportunities for foreigners to work in the Netherlands. The country hosts a wide range of international and multinational companies. Moreover, there are also recruitment agencies aimed at placing foreign workers in jobs in the Netherlands. The country has a relatively stable economy backed by plenty of foreign investment encouraged by advantageous tax conditions. However, unemployment rates are among the lowest in the EU, with the unadjusted unemployment rate in the Netherlands standing at 3.2% in May 2022.
Working Conditions and Salaries in the Netherlands
Dutch labor laws are quite extensive and tend to favor the employee, especially when it comes to dismissal. Your contract should specify the full details of your contract including the length of the contract, employee rights, and work conditions. The Dutch usually work a 36-40-hour week, sometimes spread over just four days. In general, work in the Netherlands is very well-structured within organizations.
Most work happens during normal working hours (i.e., between 9 am and 5 pm), although out-of-hours and shift work is also common. Unless at a managerial level, employees are not typically expected to work overtime. In terms of average salaries, the Netherlands scores quite highly out of EU countries. However, the minimum wage in the Netherlands is dependent on age and is reviewed bi-annually.
What are the Most In-Demand Jobs in the Netherlands?
With one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, dropping to less than 4% in recent years, it may come as a surprise to hear that the Netherlands is experiencing skills shortages in a number of areas. Highly-skilled workers in the Netherlands are in great demand, so much so that there’s a fast-track immigration process to get them in. There are also tax benefits (the 30% tax ruling) for some international employees.
This group includes engineers, those with technical skills, IT specialists, those working in finance, as well as people with experience working in sales, marketing, and customer service. Other in-demand jobs in the Netherlands include professionals and graduates working in health care, tax, interim managers, and education. You'll be highly valued by employers if you can contribute skills in any of these aforementioned fields.
Requirements to Work in the Netherlands
In general, foreign nationals will need to secure a work visa before they can take up work in the Netherlands. But there are some exceptions. If you’re from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA – EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway), or Switzerland, you are free to live and work in the Netherlands without the need for a work or residence permit. Although, you will need to register with the Dutch authorities.
However, if you are from outside the European Union (EU), European Economic Area, your employer will typically need a work permit for you. And moreover, you must also hold a residence permit. Furthermore, you don't have to speak Dutch in order to work in the Netherlands. Unlike some countries in Europe, it increases your chance of working for a large international company if you don't speak Dutch.
How to Find Jobs in the Netherlands
There are several ways to find a job in the Netherlands. Checking internet job sites, applying directly to employers, or using employment or recruitment agencies. You don't have to be living in the Netherlands to get a job, although it will be easier. It's not impossible for a foreign national to secure a Dutch job from overseas, particularly for sectors that are in high demand, like engineers, tech, and health professionals.
Moreover, interviews can be done online, or in certain cases, some companies will even fly you over on their own if they think you are fit for the position. If you want to work in the Netherlands, you should start looking for work before you leave for the Netherlands.
Here are some tips for finding a job in the Netherlands:
EURES (European Employment Services) is a job portal network maintained by the European Commission which is designed to facilitate free movement within the EEA. If you are from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland, you can search for jobs in the Netherlands on the EURES website.
The UVW Werkzoekenden site is a public employment service and has a network of partner sites and employment agencies such as Werk.nl. You can visit one of their branches to get advice and information as well as look for jobs in the Netherlands.
Moreover, many companies list vacancies directly with recruitment agencies:
Many Dutch companies rely on recruitment agencies to find employees, and it is a common way to find work in the Netherlands. You can visit agencies in person but there are also lots of online recruitment agencies too.
How to Apply for Work in the Netherlands
Applying for a job in the Netherlands is fairly similar to those in many other countries. Generally, you will need to send your CV or fill in an application form. When applying for jobs in the Netherlands, you should send your Curriculum Vitae (CV), along with a cover letter explaining why you are interested in the post and why you feel that the company should employ you.
Moreover, your CV should be tailored to the post you are applying for, and should ideally not exceed two pages. It should include details of your work experience, followed by your education, arranged in chronological order. If you are successful at this initial stage, you will then be invited to an interview. Depending on the role you've applied for, this may also be accompanied by a skill test.
Foreign nationals often face difficulties when it comes to finding work because they’re not familiar with how things are done locally. The Dutch are some of Europe’s most welcoming, friendly people, and it’s not hard to see why—despite its small size, The Netherlands offers much more than your average country. Where else can you work, learn a new language, enjoy countless festivals and activities, practice a new hobby or even run away with history? Well, you can if you take that big step and move to the Netherlands. So what are you waiting for? Start packing! Proceed with the link below for more detailed information on Dutch work visas and work permits.