Adapted Foreign Nationals Employment Act

Adapted Foreign Nationals Employment Act

It is the intention of the Dutch government to introduce an adapted Foreign Nationals Employment Act (Wet Arbeid Vreemdelingen). This will have fundamental consequences for foreign employees requiring work permits.

Although the Act is still under review at the Dutch Senate it is expected to pass and become effective as of October 1, 2013.

Priority to Dutch & EU nationals

For a large part this Act is a response to the expansion of the EU, which gives citizens freedom to take up employment in all other EU countries.

For the Dutch government this is reason to regulate the existing Labour Law to make sure that as many Dutch and EU nationals are given priority on the Dutch Labour market before work permits are issued for nationals from outside the EU.

If an application for a work permit for a non-EU employee has been approved, the permit will then have a maximum validity of one year only and cannot be extended.

This means that an employer will have to file an application for a work permit every year and has to prove every year again that there are no suitable candidates from the Netherlands or other EU countries.

Five years for "free" employees

Only after five applications, which means five years, will the employee be considered "free" on the Dutch labour market and thus, he / she will no longer need a work permit.

Currently only one application can be applied for a permit with a validity of three years after which the employee can work in the Netherlands without a work permit.

Also annual quotas could be enforced if it appears that in certain sectors employers do not make enough efforts to recruit employees from the Netherlands and the EU.

Contract renewal

Companies who employ foreigners with a work permit and intent to extend the contract are strongly advised to consider necessary action before the introduction of the new Act.

Godelijn Boonman is Attorney-at-Law at GMW Advocaten / Legal Expat Desk. For more information, please comment below.

Godelijn Boonman


Godelijn Boonman

Godelijn is partner of GMW Advocaten and is the head of the section employment law and the Legal Expat Desk. She is considered to be the undoubted employment law specialist...

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