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    Encouraging start-ups to recruit employees from abroad

    Since June 1, it has become easier for start-ups to recruit specialized staff from abroad. Changes to the ‘Besluit uitvoering Wet arbeid vreemdelingen’ (Decree on the Implementation of the Foreign Nationals Employment Act) ensure that so-called ‘essential employees’ from abroad are exempted from having to obtain a work permit when hired by start-ups in the Netherlands. The following conditions apply:

    • the organization in question must be a start-up, i.e. a newly established enterprise;
    • the respective employee must earn a monthly gross wage of a least € 2,497;
    • the respective employee must have at least 1% employee participation, for example through shares;
    • the start-up has a staff of max. 15 employees;
    • only 5 of those 15 employees may be foreign nationals.


    The changes come in the form of a four-year pilot. Currently, the exemption from having to obtain a work permit only applies for one year. However, a legislative proposal has been submitted to the lower house of the Dutch parliament for an amendment to the ‘Wet arbeid vreemdelingen’ (Foreign Nationals Employment Act). If approved, staff from abroad will be exempted from having to obtain a work permit for three years. Organizations must apply for the exemption with the Netherlands Immigration and Nationalization Service (IND). The exemption is meant to help start-ups find scarcely available staff. One of the causes of this scarcity is that it’s often difficult for specialized staff from abroad to obtain a work and/or residence permit to work and live in the Netherlands.

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