Assistance with work permits for talent from outside the Netherlands

7 May 2024

Looking for international talent from outside the Netherlands or the European Union (EU)? If so, a werkvergunning (work permit) is required. The Landelijk Steunpunt Arbeidsmigratie, LSA (national support centre for labour migration in the Netherlands) answers questions and provides information to employers in the Netherlands regarding the procedure surrounding work permits for the Netherlands. Samira Belhadj is an adviser at the LSA, part of the national team that supports the EU jobs network EURES employer services. In this interview Samira talks about the LSA's role for employers.

Applying for work permits

Finding staff is a challenge in many sectors at the moment. Therefore, it is sometimes a advantage for employers to look beyond their own national borders or even outside the EU. Employers have to apply for a work permit for staff from outside the Netherlands (only in Dutch). A very specific process, according to Samira: “It involves a lot of regulations. At the LSA, together with my colleagues Margriet de Jong and Tim Kersten, I help employers in this process by advising on how to recruit staff outside the EU. So: what should employers take into account within this process? And how can employers go through this in the best possible way?”

Demonstrating recruitment efforts

Samira: “One of the most important conditions for obtaining a work permit is for employers to concretely demonstrate that they have not succeeded in finding a candidate resident in the Netherlands or the EU. This is something employers regularly encounter. Building a file is therefore crucial.”

Required recruitment effort depends on how specialised the job is

Samira continues: “Incidentally, there is no requirement for the number of candidates an employer must have approached within the Netherlands or the EU before it has moved on to countries such as Africa or Asia, for example. In fact, this depends heavily on the type of position and the type of work that it carries out. Some positions, such as an accomplished underwater welder, are so specialised that there are only a handful of candidates for them worldwide. Such recruitment efforts are then assessed in a different way than if it is a position for which there is a surplus of candidates.”

Finding candidates (closer to home) with help from LSA

“By engaging with employers, you sometimes arrive at different solutions,” Samira shares. 'For example, I spoke to an employer who was initially looking for a candidate from Thailand, while there were also opportunities to hire someone from Spain. This saved the employer a complicated procedure, which he was very happy about. After all, staff within the EU have free movement of residence and work. While employers with staff from outside the EU have to deal with a permit process. The same applies to an employer who was looking for a goldsmith. We have short lines of communication with EURES, which specialises in recruiting within the EU. Through them, I learned that many people are being trained as goldsmiths in Spain. I was able to link the employer and EURES, which ultimately meant that the employer no longer had to source a candidate from North Africa.

This article is a translation of (in Dutch).

Contact Landelijk Steunpunt Arbeidsmigratie (LSA) by email.

Samira Belhadj, LSA, newsletter
Samira Belhadj, Advisor LSA