Employers who hire employees from outside the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland must possess a work permit. It is expected that as of 1 January 2014 it will become more difficult for employers to obtain a work permit for such employees.
The following changes to the Foreign Nationals Employment Act (Wet arbeid vreemdelingen ‘WAV’), amongst others, are likely to come into force on that date:
- The work permit is granted for one year (with the exception of intra-company transfers where the three year period continues to apply). If the employer wishes to extend the employment agreement, a new work permit must be obtained.
- The employer must pay a salary (at least the minimum wage) which is in line with the prevailing market rate.
- The work permit can be rejected if the employer has been convicted or fined in relation to a work-related offense.
- A quota may apply to an industry sector if employers in the sector do not make enough efforts to hire equally competent (unemployed) nationals of the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland available for the job.
- Employees are allowed to work without a work permit after five years of legal employment in the Netherlands (currently three years).
- Employers must pay at least the minimum wage on a full-time basis, also for part-time employees.
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