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Working in the Netherlands: how to find a job

Expats moving to the Netherlands generally already have a job with a Dutch employer or an international employer with offices in the Netherlands. That said, there are also expats who start looking for a job after emigrating to the Netherlands. For those expats, we have put together this information on what arrangements you will need to make when planning to come and work in the Netherlands. 


Taking up paid employment in the Netherlands

If you want to come and work in the Netherlands, you will generally need a residence permit. You will also need an employment contract with a Dutch-based employer, who must pay you at least  the statutory minimum wage or a percentage thereof.

Residence permit

There are different kinds of residence permits . Which kind you need depends on where you come from, how long you intend to work in the Netherlands, what kind of work you intend to do here, and on other factors. If you are, for example, classed as a highly skilled migrant (i.e. someone from outside the European Union who has been recruited to work in the Netherlands based on his or her specialist knowledge and/or skills), your residence permit will be subject to specific pay requirements and a reference from your employer. Read all about what else you need to do when moving to the Netherlands.


As a foreign national who comes to work in the Netherlands, you will incur extra expenses, which are called ' extraterritorial costs '. Your employer is allowed to pay you an allowance towards these costs. This can either be a free (untaxed) allowance or your employer can opt to cover these costs by paying 30% of your wage, including the allowance, tax-free. This is called the 30% facility, and you do not need to provide any proof of the expenses.

Looking for a job yourself

  • Use your own network
    It is always a good idea to let family, friends, acquaintances and former colleagues know that you are looking for a job in the Netherlands. They may be able to put you in contact with someone. Employers in the Netherlands take personal recommendations very seriously. Did you know that many job vacancies are never published because they are filled through informal contacts?
  • Go online
    Respond to vacancies posted by companies on their own websites. Submitting an unsolicited application is also common practice in the Netherlands. Most major companies will let you do so on their website. Create a profile on networking websites such as LinkedIn and post your CV on job sites such as Nationale Vacature Bank, Intermediair and Monsterboard. Employers will then compare your CV to their job openings and contact you if they have a job you might be interested in. 
  • Check with the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV)
    UWV is a government body that plays a key role in the Dutch labour market. If you register as a jobseeker with UWV, they will help you find a job. In doing so, UWV uses its own network of partners and temporary employment agencies. UWV has offices in many towns and cities, but most of the vacancies are also posted on UWV’s website . You can also turn to UWV for information and advice.
  • Use a professional service
    There are various kinds of service providers that can help you in your job search, ranging from temporary employment agencies and (international) executive search firms to recruiters and staffing firms. Many of these firms specialise in jobs where English language skills or skills in your native tongue are a standard requirement and that would suit you as an expat. They can help you find temporary work, but also a permanent job. You can hand your CV in at one of these firms or apply for a vacancy on their website.


Another option is to go freelance. Many people like being in charge of their own time and deciding for themselves which jobs to do. As a freelancer or self-employed professional, you work for yourself and are not tied to one client or employer. Mind you, being self-employed also means that you have to make more arrangements and do more admin yourself than someone who is employed by a company. You will have to register with the Chamber of Commerce (KvK) , for example.

In the workplace

  • As an expat, you will likely have Dutch colleagues. You may find that interactions with these colleagues are different from what you are used to, and they may have different customs. Something that takes some getting used to for many expats is that the Dutch are very direct. Read more about ‘Living in the Netherlands’. What is also good to know is that the Netherlands is known as a company with a ‘short working hours regime’, where people preferably work from 9 to 5 and there is clear separation between work life and private life.
  • While the Dutch have always been used to working at a fixed (office) location as standard, things have started to change in recent years. It is becoming increasingly common to work from home one or multiple days a week, or at a location other than the usual workplace. A lot of the work can be done online, such as meetings. Working from home also saves a lot of time that would normally be spent on the commute to and from work. Employees do, however, miss the direct contact with colleagues when working from home. Online ‘drinks’ have emerged recently as a way to still have informal contact with colleagues.

The information on this page is a brief explanation. No rights can be derived from this information.

Welcome to the Netherlands

Our handy checklist will help you sort out of all the things you need to take care of before moving to the Netherlands. 

Tips for renting or buying a home

You might be wondering how to find a place to live and whether you’d be better off renting or buying a house. Take a look at our tips.

Life for expats in the Netherlands

Getting used to the Dutch and their habits will probably take some time. Allow us to explain a few typical Dutch things.