Employment of asylum seekers and status holders

11 March 2024
May an asielzoeker (asylum seeker) or statushouder (an asylum seeker with a residence permit) work in the Netherlands? Do they need a tewerkstellingsvergunning, TWV (work permit) to do so? How do you, as their employer, apply for a TWV? We regularly receive questions about this at the Expat Centre so we've summarised the most important rules below.

When can I offer an asylum seeker or statushouder a paid job?

Statushouders have the same rights and obligations as citizens of the Netherlands and are therefore allowed to work in the Netherlands. It is very easy to confirm whether a statusholder is allowed to work. The residence document that every statushouder carries should then read: ‘arbeid vrij toegestaan; TWV niet vereist’ (work freely permitted; TWV not required). The document also states the period of validity of the temporary residence permit.

Asylum seekers who are still in the asylum procedure are allowed to work for pay if they meet the following conditions:

  • The person is lawfully residing in the Netherlands and has not yet received a final decision on their asylum application. The person has a valid Vreemdelingen Identiteitsbewijs (Foreign Nationals Identity Document).
  • Their asylum application has been pending with the IND for 6 months or more.
  • The employer has applied to the UWV for a TWV to employ an asylum seeker and the UWV has granted the TWV

Please note: It is not necessary for the asylum seeker to already have a Burgerservicenummer, BSN (citizen service number) to apply for a TWV. This can be granted after the application.


The employer pays the asylum seeker the salary that is usual for work for which the TWV has been granted; this is always at least the statutory minimum wage and jeugdloon (youth wage). This must be demonstrated by a draft employment contract. See also the Rijksoverheid website: Mogen asielzoekers werken’ (only in Dutch).

What about the payment of salary?

Asylum seekers who have been in the Netherlands for more than 6 months and statushouders must be registered in the Basisregistratie Personen, BRP (Personal Records Database) of the municipality where they are residing.

Asylum seekers and statushouders residing in a COA facility receive an account through Yoursafe. This account, like other current accounts in the Netherlands, has an IBAN (international bank account number). This allows employers to transfer salary payments to their employees.

Important points to note:

  • Employers can submit prospective TWV applications through the UWV website
  • Statushouders must have been in the application process for at least 6 months. The IND must confirm this with the UWV.
  • COA must confirm that the applicant has housing.
  • A BSN must be requested and the employee must register with the Gemeente in the municipality in which they live.
  • The employee must receive the usual market salary for their position

The limitation in the number of weeks an asylum seeker may work per year was lifted recently.

More information can be found on the Centraal Orgaan opvang asielzoekers, COA and Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, UWV (only in Dutch) websites. Employers with specific questions about this topic may also contact Landelijk Steunpunt Arbeidsmigratie - LSA (national support centre for labour migration).

Employment asylum seeker