As the Dutch economy continues to flourish, a trend is starting to develop. It is becoming increasingly common for expatriates to change employers within the Netherlands. If you are considering making this move yourself, beware of legal pitfalls! The rules surrounding changing your employer will vary, depending on your nationality and your personal circumstances. Read this article, to find out which laws apply to you.
If you have yet to secure your first job as an expat, then take a look into how to apply for a job in the Netherlands.
Coming to the Netherlands for work
Before we get started, let’s outline the three ways in which you can legally come to the Netherlands for employment:
1. As an ‘EU National’: If you are in this category, you will not need any kind of residence permit in order to work in the Netherlands
2. Upon the invitation of a recognized sponsor, as a ‘Highly Skilled Migrant’: In this case, you will have to complete a combined application for entry. You will need both a Dutch residence permit and a Dutch work permit
3. As a non-EU-National: with a regular work and residence permit
Can you Change Employers in the Netherlands?
You may be allowed to simply move on to a different employer in the Netherlands, without having to fulfil any legal obligations. However, depending on where you are from, there might be some further steps you need to take. We have created some scenarios to help explain what you must do. The employees in all three examples have been working for ’employer A’ in the Netherlands. Now, they wish to change to ’employer B’. Which rules apply to them?
1. THE EU-NATIONAL
Ms. Schmidt is German. Therefore, she is an ‘EU-National’.
What is an EU National?
You are an EU national if you are a citizen of one of the countries within the European union.
Is Ms. Schmidt allowed to stay in NL and work for employer B, after leaving employer A?
Because Ms. Schmidt is an EU-national, she has the same rights and obligations as any Dutch citizen. This means she is allowed to stay and work for another employer in the Netherlands. Neither she, employer A nor employer B needs to take any further action.
2. THE HIGHLY SKILLED MIGRANT WORKER
Mrs. Andala is Indian. She is also a ‘Highly Skilled Migrant’.
What is a Highly Skilled Migrant?
A Highly Skilled Migrant is an employee who has come to work in another country through the ‘Highly Skilled Migrant Procedure‘. This is referred to as the HSMP. It allows employers to bring skilled personnel to the Netherlands in a timely, cost-effective manner.
- Many companies choose to register as recognized HSMP sponsors. Doing this enables them to ‘fast-track’ the immigration procedure for their employees
- The processing time for the procedure takes only two weeks. After this time, an approval should be issued by the IND. IND stands for: ‘Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst’. It is the Dutch immigration department
Salary Requirements for HSM Applications:
In order to qualify for HSM status, you must be earning a specific salary. How high it needs to be depends on your age and situation. The rules are as follows:
- A post-graduate must earn: €2,228 / month
- Anyone under 30 years old must earn: €3,108 / month
- Anyone above 30 years of age must earn: €4,240 / month
- Someone with company access to HSMP must pay a one-time fee of: € 5,183.
- Someone with company access to HSMP, who works for a company that employs fewer than 50 people must pay a smaller one-time fee of: €2,592
- For HSM applications, you must also pay legal fees of: € 910
Letter of Deputation
After 10 months of working for company A, Mrs. Andala receives an attractive offer from company B.
Is Mrs. Andala allowed to stay in NL and work for employer B after terminating her employment with company A?
Yes, Mrs. Andala is allowed to stay and work in the Netherlands. This is because:
- When Mrs. Andala was invited to work for company A, she received a letter of deputation
- The letter stated that she was to be transferred to the Netherlands for a period of 24 months, as an HSM. It said that only after this must she return to India
- As long as Mrs. Andala fulfills the conditions for her status as an HSM, she can remain in the Netherlands and change her employer. She has only used 10 of the 24 months she was allotted, so she can legally remain, and work, in Holland
HSM Obligations in NL
However, unlike Ms. Schmidt, there are further actions that must be taken by Mrs. Andala herself, employer A and employer B.
What does Mrs Andala need to do?
Mrs Andala must fulfill the legal terms that come with being an HSM. This means that she is required to never have a gap in employment. Therefore, she must ensure that her new contract with employer B begins immediately after her old contract with employer A terminates. If she fails to fulfill this condition of being an HSM, Mrs Andala risks:
- Losing her residence permit
- Losing eligibility for a Dutch passport. She could obtain one after working for five uninterrupted years in the Netherlands, if she respects the HSM requirements
Employer Obligations in NL
What does employer A need to do?
Employer A must inform the IND about the departure of an employee from their company. This must be done within 28 days of Mrs. Andala’s departure. To do it, employer A must fill out a notification form
What must employer B do?
Employer B must inform the IND about the inclusion of a new employee within their company. This must be done within 28 days of Mrs. Andala’s arrival. To do this, employer B must fill out a notification form
It is important to note that:
- Employer B must be a recognized HSM sponsor
- If it were necessary, Employer B would have to renew Mrs. Andala’s residence permit, before it expired
3. THE INTRA-COMPANY TRANSFEREE
Mr. Anderson is a US Citizen and an Intra-Company Transferee
What is an Intra-Company Transferee?
- An Intra-Company Transferee is someone who has come to work abroad via the intra-company transfer procedure. This procedure is the most common way for non-EU-nationals to come to the Netherlands
- It is the most time efficient way for a non-EU-national to move to the EU, to work for a foreign employer
Mr. Anderson received an offer to come to the Netherlands on an international assignment. He accepted it, and came via an intra-company transfer. Since then, he has been working for company A for almost three years.
One day, Mr. Anderson gets fed up. He decides to quit his job at company A and start working for company B, in a higher position.
IND Requirements in NL
Is Mr. Anderson allowed to stay in the Netherlands and work for company B, after terminating his employment with company A?
Yes, however, he must meet the requirements specified by the IND and the ‘UWV‘. UWV stands for ‘Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen’, or ‘Employee Insurance agency’. They are the Dutch labor authority, and they implement and provide advice on employee insurance.
What does Mr. Anderson have to do himself?
- If Mr Anderson continues to work for company A until the full three years are up, he has the right to change employer in the Netherlands without having to apply for another work permit. However, if he does this he will also have to extend his residence permit. That process can take up to three months
- If company B is a recognized HSM sponsor, Mr. Anderson can gain HSM status. If he does this, it must be instead of taking part in an Intra-Company Transfer. To obtain HSM status, he may have to extend his residence permit
What does employer A need to do?
- In order to transfer Mr Anderson to employer B, employer A needs to do: nothing!
- However, it is important to note that, before Mr Anderson came to work for them, they should have requested both a work and a residence permit for him. Both of these permits should cover the same period, at the same time
Intra-Company Transfer Procedure
What must employer B do?
There are certain requirements employer B must meet, before their company can even use the Intra-Company Transfer Procedure:
- Employer B must have a minimum annual worldwide turnover of € 50 million
- Employer B must have one branch in the Netherlands
Once employer B has fulfilled these requirements, they can use the procedure. Before they transfer an employee, like Mr Anderson, to the Netherlands they must:
- Apply to the UWV
- Be able to prove that they have been unable to find suitable personnel in the Netherlands/EU, for the position Mr Anderson has been offered
Be aware that, on top of the information in this article, an employment contract may hold additional clauses. These could make it more complicated for you to change employer in the Netherlands. Your employer may, for example, have restrictions concerning: property rights, confidentiality or non-competition clauses. Be sure to check this with both you current and future employer, to ensure that you remain above the law.
- Altair Global: Previously known as NOVA Relocation, Altair Global has been providing personal relocation and immigration services to its corporate clients and their employees, for over 25 years
The Dutch office can be reached at: ☎ +31(0) 70 324 2524 │ ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org │ Het Kleine Loo 414T, 2592CK The Hague
- Our article on attitudes to work and bosses in NL is worth reading if you are struggling to get used to the Dutch work culture
- Learning more about the Dutch employment market will also help you adapt to working in the Netherlands