Working as an international student in the Netherlands

by Luca on November 15

Working part-time during your studies 

As an international student in the Netherlands, you might want to take up a part-time job. Besides helping to cover your costs, a job can also give you useful work experience, allow you to participate in Dutch society and make it easier for you to learn the language. 

How do I find a part-time job? 

The easiest way to find a job is through websites such as:

  • LinkedIn 
  • (freelance) 

Or walk around your city handing out your CV :) 

Work permit 

Whether you will need a work permit (TWV) in order to hold a part-time job during your studies depends on your nationality. If you are a student of the EU/EEA (except for Croatia) and Switzerland you do not need a work permit. There is no restriction on the number of hours you are allowed to work. If you are a student from Croatia transitional rules apply with respect to the labour market. However, you will still need a work permit. It is up to your employer to apply for your work permit (TWV) from UWV WERKbedrijf. You cannot do this yourself. There is no restriction on the number of hours you are allowed to work, but it is easier if you limit the hours to ten a week or full-time during the summer months June, July and August only. Students of all other countries will need a work permit. Dutch law restricts the number of hours you are allowed to work. You may either do seasonal work full-time (but only in June, July and August) or you may work part-time throughout the rest of the year (but no more than ten hours a week); you may not do both. It is up to your employer to apply for your work permit from UWV WERKbedrijf. You cannot do this yourself. It will take about five weeks to process the application. Employers may not always be aware of the rules, and may be wary about applying for a work permit. 

Working as an entrepreneur during your studies 

As of April 2017, international non-EU/EEA students are allowed to become self-employed in addition to their studies, without needing a work permit. It is now possible for all international students to do self-employed work for an unlimited amount of hours, in addition to their studies and part-time job (with a maximum of 10 hours a week). Please note that non-EU/EEA students still need a work permit for a part-time job and have to continue to comply with the conditions for your residence permit. The same applies to students that obtained their residence permit before April 2017. They are also allowed to work as entrepreneurs during their studies. EU students have free access to the Dutch labour market. 

Healthcare insurance and healthcare allowance 

Dutch public healthcare insurance is called basiszorgverzekering. Dutch law requires everyone in the Netherlands with a resident or employee status to take out a Dutch public healthcare insurance. Students who are in the Netherlands solely for study purposes are exempt from this general requirement. If you start a part-time job, however, you will immediately have to take out Dutch public healthcare insurance, since now you are no longer just a student, but also an employee. This applies no matter how many hours you work per week. This rule also applies to EU citizens who are covered by an EU Health Insurance Card. If you intend to work part-time on and off, make sure you choose an insurance company that allows you to switch between private and public healthcare insurance. You will find more detailed information here. 

Agreements with your employer 

Before you start a job, it is wise to settle all the formalities with your employer, such as the number of days off you are entitled to. Also make sure you know the organisation’s own rules and regulations regarding the terms of employment. 

Stick to the rules 

Some students take jobs through unofficial channels, where the employer does not pay any social security contributions for them. The pay for such jobs is usually higher than for regular jobs, but it is important to realise that this practice is illegal, and means that you cannot claim any rights as an employee. Moreover, you will not be insured in the event of a work-related accident. You should also be aware that if you need a work permit and your employer lets you work without one, he or she risks a high fine in the event of discovery. In the worst case you might even lose your residence permit. 


Are you moving to the Netherlands? Wondering how many pieces of luggage to bring?
Well pack light and get a Starter Kit! 

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