Foreign entrepreneurs able to work more easily in the Netherlands

Foreign entrepreneurs able to work more easily in the Netherlands

The rules for entrepreneurs and freelancers from outside the European Union who want to establish themselves in the Netherlands are being relaxed.

The Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp said the adjustment, which comes into effect this week, is aimed at "innovative entrepreneurs who with their special skills make an extra contribution to the Dutch economy."

He wants to make the Netherlands more attractive to foreign talent and more responsive to the needs of the creative, medical and ICT sectors, fields in which many freelancers work.

Changes to rules

As of August 1, the amount that a migrant must invest in their business in order to qualify as an entrepreneur will drop from 25.000 euros to 5.000 euros.

In addition, the points system that is currently used to weigh up potential entrepreneurs (by determining whether they contribute to the "substantial economic interest" by rating their training, entrepreneurial experience and finances) will give greater weight to innovative ideas.

This will be great for younger foreign freelancers, who as they might only have a few sales often struggle to score enough points on this system.

Growing need to be flexible

According to the minister, the number of independent entrepreneurs is growing in the Netherlands and worldwide and having a flexible labour market that responds quickly to change is "the road to innovation and new activities."

He cites the rapidly developing creative sector in the Netherlands as an example, in which 66 per cent of the workforce consists of freelancers.

"They are largely responsible for the rapid growth and high innovation in this sector," he said.

Will it help?

Ruud Hendriks, co-founder of Startup Bootcamp, a growth program for start-ups in Amsterdam, said it was a nice step forward, but still not quite enough. "5.000 euros is still a considerable amount for a brilliant person from, for example, India," he said.

Employers’ association VNO-NCW called it a "visible development" for the various sectors where talent combined with very specific knowledge is scare and deployable worldwide.

PZO, an advocate for independent entrepreneurs, called the amendment an interesting development. "As long as entrepreneurs are conscious of the risks, PZO welcomes this," said a spokeswoman.

Sources: Ministry of Economic Affairs,

Alexandra Gowling


Alexandra Gowling

Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in Asia before coming to the Netherlands a year ago. She enjoys writing, reading...

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