Work > Netherlands

Last update: January 2013

Work (regular residence permits)

  • Self-employment: permit for this is only possible when the job serves an essential Dutch interest, when you acquire sustainable and sufficient income, and when you have the right diplomas for the work you do.
  • Wage labor: only possible when a company can prove not to be able to find Dutch employees. In general you need a valid mvv, a passport and you should be able to acquire independent, sustainable and sufficient income.

Your rights when you do not have papers:

Surviving illegally: If legal stay is not possible you may try to survive illegally in the Netherlands, for example by learning Dutch and finding informal jobs and informal rooms to rent. Making use of your social network may be the best way. It is not easy, but possible. And when you do not have a residence permit, it is important to know your rights and know which help you can find where. (For more detailed information on your rights and useful addresses in different towns, check and

Work: when you don't have legal stay, you are officially not allowed to do paid or voluntary labor. However, in practice it is possible to have black jobs. For example cleaning, babysitting, jobs in construction, horticulture or in restaurants. The labor inspection sometimes checks companies on illegal workers. An employer can get a fine of 4000 or 8000 Euro a person. You as an illegal worker do not get a fine, but you can get arrested and be kept in alien detention.
If you do work, you officially have the rights under the labor law. There are however employers who want to make use of your vulnerable position and let you work under very poor conditions or let you work involuntarily (for example in the sex industry). In this case, you can report the employer to the police and you might get legal stay under the B9 regulation for victims of human trafficking.

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