Single permit for residence and work in the Netherlands


By: davidkorzec
Tel: +31(0)20 6513002


An employer that wants to bring employees from outside the EU to work in the Netherlands, but not as a “highly skilled migrant” (we have discussed this category in a previous special), can apply for the so-called ‘single permit for residence and work’ (“GVVA / arbeid in loondienst”).

Single permit procedure overview

The employer applies on behalf of the employee to the IND for a single permit for employment purposes. There is no need for the employer to be a “recognized sponsor” like under the highly skilled migrant scheme (however it will make the application easier and quicker). Note that it is not possible to have the employee on a foreign payroll – the Dutch company applying for the single permit must be the actual employer and therefore have the employee on its own payroll.

The IND will assess the immigration part of the application itself, and seek advice from the Employee Insurance Schemes Implementing Body (“UWV”) with regard to the employment issues. Only upon receiving a positive recommendation from the UWV, the IND will grant a single permit. The IND must consult the UWV and decide upon the request within 90 days.

UWV assessment

Labour market test

Regarding the employment part, the UWV first of all applies the so-called labour market test. This means that the UWV will assess whether the employer has made sufficient efforts to find suitable staff on the local Dutch labour market and within the European Economic Area (“EEA”, i.e the EU countries and Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway). These efforts should include publishing the job opening through relevant outlets. The UWV requires that the job opening at least be published on the website of the European Employment Services (“EURES”, We recommend to also publish the job opening on other recruitment websites and / or in magazines so as to prove to the UWV that maximum efforts are being made to find suitable candidates. The job opening ads have to be maintained for a minimum of five (5) weeks, in some cases (if the job description is very specific and candidates are difficult to find – the UWV will decide on this) up to three (3) months.

If the employer’s efforts are deemed sufficient, but in the EEA there is a sufficient supply of labour available on the market, the UWV will still give a negative recommendation. In other words, if there are suitable candidates for the job in question on the EEA labour market, the UWV will in principle give a negative recommendation.

The UWV will under circumstances not apply the labour market test for employees in certain fields, such as musicians and artists, key personnel in non-profit organizations, international education teachers, etc.

Salary assessment

In addition to the labour market test, the UWV also assesses whether the employment conditions – in particular the salary – of the migrant employee are acceptable. The employee has to not only at least earn the minimum wage, or (if applicable) the minimum collective bargaining agreement wage, but the salary also has to be in line with market practice.

The UWV will first and foremost request the employer to demonstrate whether the salary is in line with market practice. The employer can do this by for instance proving that the proposed salary is in line with the average salary in the market for comparable jobs for people with similar education and experience. Also, the employer can demonstrate that the salary is in line with that of other employees within the company.

If the UWV is satisfied with the employer’s explanation, it will accept the proposed salary. If the UWV on the other hand has doubts, it will proceed to investigate. This typically entails desk research into popular salary comparison websites (for instance: Intermediair,

No single permit

Finally, certain categories of employees are not eligible for a single permit for residence and work, for instance intra-company transferees in large multinational corporations (key personnel, trainees, or specialists). For such categories, the employer is required to start two separate application procedures: a residence permit application with the IND and a work permit application with the UWV.


HIL has assisted Chinese and other non-European companies and individuals with relocation to the Netherlands since 1994. Please contact the persons below for more information on our services.

For full access to the bilingual special, please click here: Single permit for residence and work in the Netherlands.


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