International trade Regulation

10 July 2017

As of July 1, 2017, the new “International trade regulation” is applicable. This regulation offers Dutch employers more possibilities to employ non-EU nationals in the Netherlands on a temporary basis without a separate work permit per employee. In order to do so, the Dutch employer should file an application with the UWV for admission of the company’s project before the activities begin. If approved, employers only need to notify the non-EU employees to the UWV. Depending on the nationality of the non-EU employee, an entry visa (MVV) and/or a Dutch residence permit might be required.

This regulation has been implemented in Article 1K of the “Besluit uitvoering Wet arbeid vreemdelingen (BuWav)” and replaces the Pilot Knowledge Industry. In order to qualify for the new regulation, the project should relate to international trade, services or cooperation. This implies that commercial companies should be involved.

Employers can file an application for a project for the duration of 3 years. If the project lasts longer, the employer should file a new application, again for the duration of 3 years. The processing time of the application is approximately 5 weeks.

Upon application of the international trade project, UWV will investigate if the activities of the project will not lead to an unfair competition on the Dutch labor market, i.e. the activities can not be performed by Dutch or other EU nationals. Croatian nationals are considered as non-EU employees as well.

UWV will also take into account among others the nature, activities and duration of the project, the number of non-EU employees involved as well as the value of the goods and services that will be supplied. In addition, companies involved in the project should demonstrate the relationship between the Dutch employer and the foreign company which is related to the non-EU employee. Not only employees will qualify for the new regulation, but also contractors and shareholding directors of a foreign company. However, employees falling within the scope of the Intra Corporate Transferees Directive are excluded.

For all employment activities performed in the Netherlands, the Dutch minimum wage and holiday allowance must be applied. Thus, no other/higher salary criterion is applicable.

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