Volunteering is another way to further one’s education and come into contact with potential employers. If just arrived in the Netherlands, it is a productive way to become acquainted or improve the knowledge of the Dutch language and can increase chances of prospective employment.
Doing volunteer work can also be a fun way to meet other people; it allows people to actively participate in the community, and to become acquainted with the Maastricht Region. Volunteer work can be enjoyable, challenging, educational, and good for personal development.
Citizens of non-EU/EAA countries require a valid work permit to engage in volunteer activities. Holders of a tourist visa are not allowed to do volunteer work. Also, if recipients of unemployment benefits may not be allowed to volunteer without prior consent from the UWV (Employee Insurance Schemes Implementing Body).
The following websites (in Dutch) feature volunteer opportunities across the Netherlands;
- NL voor elkaar
- Vrijwilligers vacaturebank
- SIW Internationale Vrijwilligersprojecten
Many organisations in the Maastricht Region can use volunteers: food banks, museums and other cultural organisations, helping at schools and care homes may be an option, providing transport for elderly people, helping people with their financial administration, gardening, and helping people with their English.
In the Netherlands a Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag – VOG (Certificate of Good Conduct) is sometimes required before starting volunteer work. It is a document by which the Dutch State Secretary for Justice and Security declares that the applicant did not commit any criminal offences that are relevant to the performance of their duties.
Any payment for volunteer work is tax free up to a maximum of €170 per month or €1,700 per year. In order to be able to take advantage of this tax break (on the €1,700), the organisation must have an Algemeen nut beogende instellingen – ANBI (Public Benefit Organisation) status and must provide the volunteer with the required documentation for tax purposes.
Having a basic knowledge of Dutch can increase opportunities to engage in volunteer work, as well as possessing specific skills and there are a number of opportunities where – for instance – knowledge of Arabic or Farsi are a great advantage.