Full access to the Dutch labour market: Partners and spouses of expat entrepreneurs

Full access to the Dutch labour market: Partners and spouses of expat entrepreneurs

Paid partnership

Are you residing in the Netherlands on the basis of the residence permit of your partner or spouse, who is working as an entrepreneur? Or are you planning to move to the Netherlands as a business-owner, accompanied by your family members? Adam & Wolf Immigration Lawyers explains the latest developments.

Legislation change per January 1, 2020

Prior to January 1, 2020, partners and spouses of entrepreneurs that hold a residence permit to work as an entrepreneur in the Netherlands were only allowed to work as entrepreneurs themselves, severely restricting them as they were unable to take up employment. This changed on January 1, 2020. Now, partners and spouses of entrepreneurs have full access to the Dutch labour market. This means that they can work freely in the Netherlands.

Action required?

Your labour market notification is written on the back of your Dutch residence card. Newcomers (spouses or partners of entrepreneurs) will now receive a residence card with the labour market notification “Arbeid vrij toegestaan. Tewerkstellingsvergunning niet vereist”.

Spouses or partners of entrepreneurs who still have a residence permit with the incorrect notification (Arbeid als zelfstandige toegestaan, arbeid in loondienst alleen toegestaan met TWV) can do two things. They can either wait until their residence card needs to be extended or they can apply for a new residence card with the correct labour market notification.

Back residence permit

Spouses / partners of entrepreneurs from the US and Japan

The above is great news for spouses and / or partners of all foreign entrepreneurs in the Netherlands, and especially for spouses and partners of US citizens who have a residence permit to work as a self-employed person on the basis of the Dutch American Friendship Treaty or the Dutch Japanese Friendship Treaty. Entrepreneurial residence permits are not issued that often, as it is difficult to make it through the point-based system that applies to non-EU entrepreneurs who wish to establish their legal residence in the Netherlands.

However, this is different for US and Japanese citizens. Based on the above-mentioned treaties, different and more flexible requirements apply to entrepreneurs from the US and Japan. They do not need to show that they have added value for the Dutch economy. They must prove that a substantial capital investment of 4.500 euros was made and, of course, that the business is economically active, but that is more or less it.

Because the procedure for entrepreneurs from the US and Japan is much more straightforward and flexible, there is a significant amount of them in the Netherlands, often accompanied by their family members. The above-mentioned legislation change will make it even more attractive for entrepreneurs of these countries to come and live in the Netherlands with their family members.

Other categories

Spouses and partners of Dutch or EU citizens do already have full access to the labour market, provided that they have a dependent residence permit from their Dutch or European spouse or partner. Spouses and partners of Highly Skilled Migrants, EU Blue Card Holders and Intra Company Transferees on the basis of the EU Directive have similar full access to the Dutch labour market.

However, spouses or partners of regular work permit holders or work permits issued on the basis of other Intra Company Transferee Schemes such as the GATT do not have full access to the labour market. They cannot work as a self-employed business owner and if they want to work in employment, a work permit will always be required. The latter is usually difficult to obtain. Unfortunately, the legislation did not change for people in this category.

Do you have questions about your work authorisation in the Netherlands? Do you need help filing your entrepreneurial residence permit application and that of your family members? Please reach out to Susanne Mooij of Adam & Wolf Immigration Lawyers. She will be happy to assist!


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