Student work

During the preparations for your new adventure, studying in the Netherlands, you might wonder if it’s possible to work alongside your studies. It could be a job on the side, or maybe you’re self-employed, about to do a paid internship or working as a volunteer receiving an allowance? Whatever your situation may be, you might need a work permit. Furthermore, there are rules regarding working hours and last but not least, you may need to take out Dutch public health insurance. Read all about it on our page working in the Netherlands.

Do I need a work permit as a student?

That depends on your country of origin. There are two possible situations:

  • You are from the EU/EEA or Switzerland: you can work in the Netherlands alongside your studies without any restrictions. No work permit is required. Besides, working hours are not further restricted other than by Dutch law, the rules in the ATW (Working Hours Act).
  • You are from outside the EU/EAA or Switzerland: some restrictions apply. You need a work permit (to be provided by your employer) and can choose to work max. 16 hours a week during the year or full-time during the summer (June, July and August).

How do I apply for a work permit?

A work permit, also called a TWV, is necessary when you’re not from Europe. You can’t apply for this permit yourself, that’s the responsibility of your employer. He or she needs to apply at the UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) at least 5 weeks before you start working. If desired, you can ask your employer for a copy of the permit. You will not be charged a fee for this application.
The work permit is only valid for the job and employer as stated on the document. In case you work without a permit or work more hours than allowed, this constitutes a violation of the Wav (Foreign Nationals Employment Act). This illegal situation can result in a severe fine for the employer. In case the inspectorate, SZW, discovers such an illegal situation, the IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service) will be contacted. The IND is responsible for contacting your educational institute to keep a close eye on your study progress. One of the requirements to keep your residence permit is to demonstrate sufficient progress (at least 50% of the credits for that year).

I’m doing an internship. Do I need a work permit?

No, a work permit won’t be necessary in case you’re doing an internship relevant to your study programme at a Dutch higher educational institution. However, an internship agreement has to be signed between you, your university or other educational institution and the internship employer.
Most of the times interns receive payment for their work. The amount of the payment will be fully determined between you and your internship employer. If your payment consists of covering expenses, you won’t have to pay taxes. In other cases, your employer needs to pay taxes and contribute to social security.

  • Important: in case you receive payment for your internship this may affect your social security status and legal responsibility to pay tax. Furthermore, you need to take out Dutch public health insurance. Visit our page Student insurance for more information.

I’m self-employed. Do I need a work permit?

No, you don’t need a work permit. You can, without any time limits, work as much as you want. However, to keep your residence permit you need to demonstrate sufficient study progress. Therefore, you’ll need to obtain at least 50% of the credits of the academic year.

I’m a volunteer. Do I need a work permit?

No, to be able to do voluntary work in the Netherlands you only need to fill out a ‘vrijwilligersverklaring’ (Volunteer Declaration), valid for max. 3 years. To obtain this declaration, your organization can submit an application at the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). In the following situations you don’t need a Volunteer Declaration:

  • Currently you’re in your orientation year
  • You have a residence permit for scientific research

I’m an Au Pair. Do I need a work permit?

No, you need a residence permit (au pair visa). You can apply for the visa at the IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service) and find the requirements on their website.

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