How to get a work permit in Europe

We keep on getting the same question over and over again:

What does it cost to get a work permit in Europe and
how long will it take to get one?

The answer is simple:

YOU can NOT get a work permit.

An employer will have to get one on your behalf and this will not cost you anything.

European law stipulates that the employer must file for a work permit on behalf of the non-European employee the company wants to hire.

So, how do you get an employer to get a work permit for you?

With great difficulty.

An employer will have to prove to the government that they can not find anyone in Europe to fill the vacancy. Remember that there are millions of well educated, unemployed people in Europe, so this will be a very hard case to prove. If you’re an unskilled labourer you have absolutely no chance. Only in industries where there is a shortage of staff you will be able to find employers willing to fill in the necessary paperwork.

Most employer won’t even contemplate trying to get a work permit as the red tape involved is extreme. Governments in Europe are trying to make it as difficult as possible in order to keep immigrants out. They already have too much difficulty coping with their own unemployed work forces.

If you are a candidate without a European passport (or the right to get one) or not married to a European passport holder, you will notice that companies won’t even bother to reply to applications from non-Europeans. They have no way of employing non-Europeans and they are already getting too many unsolicited applications from European candidates.

On top of that, too many people from the Indian subcontinent send out applications indiscriminately (application spam), causing employers to not even look at them. The only way to make sure a potential employer will look at an application is to make sure that you tick all the boxes mentioned in the advert, are eligible to work in the EU and can prove that you have experience in the fields required.

Also have a look under the work permits section on the blog as we have regularly published information about this in the past.



IT developers needed in Iceland

Ever wanted to work in an amazing place?

Iceland might be your place to go. The country has a laid back, friendly culture and nature is simply stunning with hot water lakes, volcanos, glaciers and more unusual natural features.

The country’s IT industry is in dire need of more IT developers as the industry is growing, but the number of locals studying the subject is not. The salaries on offer are being pushed up as a result.

How easy is it to get a work permit in Iceland?

If you are a Scandinavian citizen, it’s easy.

If you move to Iceland from any of the Scandinavian countries and hold either an Icelandic, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian or Swedish passport, you must have a change of residence attest (Internordisk flytteattest). You won’t need this if you are staying in Scandinavia for less than 6 months (3 months for Denmark), but you must register if you want to seek employment. You can register this at:

The National Register, Borgartúni 24, 150 Reykjavík

Scandinavians do not need a residence or work permit in other Scandinavian countries. You get your Icelandic ID-number through The National Register when you arrive in Iceland. You get the same kind of tax-card as Icelandic citizens. You’ll receive it in the mail on the new address you mention in your trans-Scandinavian attest.

EU & EEA residents

If you are an EU or EEA resident, you can stay and work in Iceland for up to three months, six if you are looking for employment without the need for a permit. If you stay longer, you must have a residence permit. You can apply for a permit after you arrive in Iceland. You don’t need to apply if you are an EU/EEA resident returning to your home country every week or so.

Citizens of Estonia, Lettland, Lithaen, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic or Hungary who are looking for a job in Iceland can get a job without a permit, but the employer must register you with the Directorate of Labour. EU/EEA-residents must submit their address to the National Register.

The employer must apply for an ID-number on behalf of EEA-residents, please note that the delay to get one may be up to 4 weeks.

If you do not have a residence permit, you must apply for a tax-card. When a residence permit is granted, the National Register is notified and you are registered just like Icelandic residents.


If you are not a EU/EEA resident, you can not work in Iceland without a residence and a work permit. You must apply for the job and get your work permit before you arrive in Iceland. If you are in Iceland and want to apply for a job, you must leave the country while the authorization is pending.

There are, however, two exceptions:

– if you are married to an Icelandic citizen or to a foreigner permitted to work in Iceland, and have reached the age of 24.

– if one of your parents is an Icelandic citizen or a foreigner permitted to stay in Iceland, and have reached the age of 18.

Work permit Spain

As with most information regarding bureaucracy in Spain, this information can only be used as a guide for obtaining a work permit.

Always double check!

Work permits for European Union nationals

If you are an EU national you do not need a work permit to work in Spain, you can enter Spain as a tourist and register with the Spanish national employment office (Instituto Nacional de Empleo – INEM) to look for a job, you then have 90 days to find employment, you can obtain an extension after that date or leave Spain and re-enter for a further 90 days.

Once you get a job, your employment contract will be necessary in order to apply for your residence card.

Work permits for  non-EU  nationals

General information

People from outside the European Union who wish to work in Spain must obtain a work permit after also obtaining a visa, before they move to work in Spain. They need to apply for the visa at the Spanish Consulate in their home country.

An application for a work permit needs to be sent to the Foreigners’ Office (Oficinas de Extranjeros) or at the provincial office of the Ministry of Labor (Delegación Provincial del Ministerio de Trabajo), if the foreign applicant is in Spanish territory. If the foreign applicant is not in Spain, an application for the work permit needs to be sent to the Consular office of the foreign applicant’s home country.

The Provincial labor offices (Direcciones Provinciales de Trabajo, Seguridad Social y Asuntos Sociales) will decide whether the work permit will be issued or not.

Documents you must present at the time of work permit application

The documents you will be required to present upon application for work permit are the following:

• If you are an employee:
o Copy of your valid passport.
o Certificate of criminal records issued by the authorities of the foreigner’s home country, except when it was presented upon application for the visa.
o Official medical certificate.
o Three passport-size photographs.
o Fiscal registration number (NIE or CIF) and the Social Security registration number of the employer.
o Offer of employment where there appear the labor conditions.
o Full description of the job and the company activity.
o Proof of the employer’s solvency could also be required

• If you are self-employed:
o Copy of your valid passport.
o Certificate of criminal records issued by the authorities of the foreigner’s home country, except when it was presented upon application for the visa.
o Official medical certificate.
o Three passport-size photographs.
o Full description of the job and the company activity.
o Proof of the foreigner’s professional qualification or that he meet the requirements needed to perform the professional activity in Spain, such as the appropriate licences to perform the activity or the registration to the Spanish Social Security system, your NIE.
o Any other documentation the Spanish Administration requires from time to time.

Types of work permits

• Where the foreigner is an employee:
o Type A work permit: for seasonal or time limited work. This may entail a specific contract or a specific geographic area. The maximum duration is 9 months, including renewal.
o Type b initial work permit: It enables the foreigner to work in a specific profession, activity and geographic area for a maximum period of 1 year.
o Type B renewed work permit: This is issued to those b initial holders once it has expired. It entitles him to carry on various professions or activities within a maximum period of 2 years.
o Type C work permit, this is issued to the B renewed work permit holders once it has expired. This entitles the foreign worker to perform any professional activity throughout the Spanish Territory.

• Where the foreigner is self-employed
o Type D initial work permit: To carry on a specific activity for a maximum of 1 year. Spanish authorities could limit this to a specific geographic area.
o Type D renewed work permit: This is issued to those d initial holders once it has expired. It entitles him to perform various professional activities for a maximum period of 2 years. Spanish labor authorities could limit this to a specific geographic area and/or a specific activity.
o Type E work permit: This is issued to those holding the D renewed work permit once it has expired. This entitles the foreign worker to perform any professional activity throughout the Spanish Territory for a maximum period of 3 years.

• Where the foreigner is an employee or is self-employed
o Type F work permit: To perform professional activities in the Spanish borders, provided their daily return to the foreign borders where they normally reside. This is issued for a maximum period of 5 years, after that it may be renewed.
o Permanent work permit: It enables the foreign worker to perform any professional activity where he has the qualification required. The type C or E work permits’ holders may obtain this work permit once theirs had expired. It is mandatory to renew this work permit every 5 years.
o Extraordinary work permit: this is issued to the non-EU foreign citizens who had helped to the Spanish economic and cultural progress. It enables the foreign worker to perform any professional activity throughout the Spanish territory where he has the qualification required. This must be renewed every 5 years.

You might have to hire a skilled lawyer to handle your application, as they know the ins and outs of the paperwork.

The Residence Permit

Community Cards
European Union citizens can freely enter, exit, travel and remain in Spain, and are not obliged to get the residence card (the European Community registration card), in order to live or stay for longer than 3 months in Spain. The residence card is no longer a formal requirement for EU citizens to establish their residence in Spain, although they can apply to get one if they wish to obtain it (in this case, the government employee must inform the EU citizen about the non obligation to get the card).

Temporary residence cards are issued for periods between 3 months and 1 year, the permanent residence card is issued for 5 years, which is automatically renewable.
You must apply for your residence card in person at the foreigners’ office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or the national police station (Comisaría de Policía Nacional) with Foreigners’ department from the city where you are going to live.

You will be required to present the following documentation:
• Your passport valid for at least six months.
• Three photographs of the correct size.
• Medical certificate, when required.
• Proof of family relationship, when applying for reuniting family members.
• Proof of your financial support while you are in Spain, your pension, or copy of your work contract if you are going to be employed in Spain, or documented proof that you meet the necessary requirements to work on your own account, when you are going to be self-employed in Spain.

You should carry your residence card with you at all times as it constitutes a mandatory identity card for foreign residents in Spain.

The Residence permit for non-EU foreigners

Non-EU foreigners need a residence permit to live in Spanish territory. To enter the Spanish territory the foreigner would be required to show his valid passport and the corresponding visa. In order to remain in Spain after a period of time exceeding 90 days, it is necessary to obtain either an extension or a residence permit.

There are different types of residence permits:
• Temporary residence permit: This allows you to remain in Spain for a period of time between 90 days and 5 years, your residence permit may be renewed after that limit.
• Permanent residency permit: This is available to all foreigners who have held a normal residence permit for a continuous period of 5 years. It should be renewed every 5 years.
• Residency permit for special circumstances such as for non-EU foreigners “”moved considered””; for non EU-foreigners whose asylum application had been rejected and whom the Spanish Ministry of Interior has authorised them to remain in Spain…
• Residency permit for reuniting families: This permit entitles the non-EU foreigner residing in Spain to apply for Spanish residence of his closest family. The applicant shall have been legally residing in Spain for at least 1 year and must have authorization for another year residing in Spain.

The residency permit application needs to be made in person to the Foreigners’ Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or at the National Police Station with a foreigners’ department nearest to the city or town where you are going to live, you will be required to present some documentation depending on the type of residence permit applied.

You must present the following documentation:
• Valid passport.
• Residence visa in force.
• Proof of previous legal residence of the foreigner in Spain e.g. a long-term rental contract or receipts for rent;
• Certificate of criminal record issued by the authorities of the foreigner’s home country.
• Some passport-size photographs.
• Medical certificate (certificado medico), in the cases that the applicant had not presented it when obtained his visa residence.
• Proof of financial income to support you during the period of residence in Spain, such as pensions, work salaries…
• Proof that your health assistance is guaranteed during your residence in Spain.
• Marriage or divorce certificate or other papers relating to your marital status, plus a Spanish translation will be required when applying for reuniting your family.

Renewals of residency permits are available, provided that neither the personal or the economic situation of the non-EU foreigner have changed. The renewal needs to be made at least a month before the residence permit has expired, otherwise the foreigner could be fined.

Residence permits are issued by the Spanish Ministry of the Interior (Ministerio del Interior). You should carry your residence card with you at all times as it constitutes a mandatory identity card for foreign residents in Spain, it shows your fiscal registration number (NIE).


Foreigners from the EU do not need a visa to enter Spain, but just a passport or an official ID.

Non-EU foreigners, on the other hand, do need a visa to enter Spain, except if there is an agreement between Spain and the foreign country, by means of which the requirement of a visa is eliminated for citizens or residents of such countries when they will be staying in Spain for up to 3 months within a 6 month period, or for a transit stay of maximum 5 days.

You may apply for a visa to the Spanish Consulate located in your home country before you leave, visas are handled by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its consulates abroad.

There are different types of visas, which are issued depending on your purpose for entering Spain: studying, working, holiday, investment …. You should apply for your visa according to your needs, you cannot enter Spain on a tourist visa and then apply to stay as something else without returning to your home country and obtaining the appropriate visa first.

You should be required to produce some specific documentation, depending on the type of visa you need. The visa process will take some weeks and varies from case to case.

Genrally spoken, there are four types of visas:

• Transit visa:
Consists of two types:
o One for individuals or groups of foreigners passing through Spanish ports or airports without entering Spanish territory.
o One that allows foreigners to pass through Spanish territory with a maximum of 5 days.

• Temporary stay visa:
Consists of two types:
o Short-duration visa: issued for foreigners who wish to stay in Spain for up to 3 months within a 6-month time period. There are different categories, such as:
• Group visas for short stays (no longer than 30 days).
• Visas to study in Spain.
o Multiple-stay visas: issued for multiple stays adding up to 90 days within six months during one year

• Residence visa
It should not be confused with the Residence permit, which is also necessary in most of the cases. This is initially granted for 1 year, and it may be renewed for an additional 2-years period, once it has expired, you may apply for permanent residency visa, which must be renewed every five years.

There are specific categories:
o For reuniting a family: It could be given to the spouse provided that his matrimony is valid; to the descendants of the principal, provided that they are not married and are under 18 years of age.
o For working in Spain for at least one year without having criminal records when the foreigner needs a work permit or when the foreigner is a professional who does not need a work permit such as university professors, when professionals are hired by a Spanish university, or scientists, when they are hired by Spanish Government.
o For asylum, this is issued for foreigners with refugee status.

• Courtesy visa:
Visas for Diplomatic personnel or similar

Working in France

As with most information regarding the bureaucracy in France, this information can only be used as a guide for obtaining a work permit.

Always double check!

In general , EU citizens, nationals of the countries which signed the European Economic Area agreement and Swiss nationals may work freely in France.

If you are a foreign national, you can not be employed in France without first having obtained a residence permit.

For foreign nationals with a permanent professional activity, the work permit and the residence permit appear in one single document: resident card or temporary residence permit.

The decisions for work permits and to issue residence permits are taken by the Chief of Police.

Work permit
In reality, the Director of the Labour, Employment and Vocational Training office of the département who issues the work permits upon delegation from the Chief of police. Public authorities’ decisions are chiefly based on the employment situation in the requested profession and the geographical area in question.
They can also take into account the pay conditions proposed and how you will be housed.

Residence permit
Different residence permits, authorising foreign nationals to work in France, are issued by the Chief of police:

– The temporary residence permit (carte de séjour temporaire)
Valid for a maximum of one year, it states, according to the circumstances,
“salarié” (employee),
“travailleur temporaire” (temporary worker) for employment contracts for a period of less than one year,
“travailleur saisonnier” (seasonal worker) or “travailleur en mission” (worker on assignment).

For freelance professions, the permit states the profession in which you wish to work.

– The resident card (carte de résident)
Valid for ten years, it authorises the holder to work. It can be issued to those who have already resided in France with a residence permit for more than five years without interruption, under certain conditions provided for by the law or as of right in certain situations: French spouse, parent of a French child, etc.

The Act dated 24 July 2006 created a residence permit stating: “compétence et talent” (expertise and talent).

To prepare your application correctly, contact a specialised association or duty office which will help you to collect all the essential documents and will make the formalities easier for you.

Documents required to stay (and work) in France

Entry and residence of EU, EEA & Swiss Nationals
EU, EEA & Swiss citizens intending to live in France should have a valid passport (only nationals from Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands can seek employment upon production of their national Identity Card). However, please note that British citizens native of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not regarded as EU citizens.

According to EU law, EU nationals have up to 3 months to apply for a “”Carte de séjour de ressortissant de l’Union Européenne”” (EU resident permit) at the “”Préfecture”” or “”Commissariat de Police”” (Police Station) of your place of residence. The “”Carte de séjour”” will be granted upon production of:

– A valid passport, a birth certificate or a marriage certificate, and proof of accommodation. Proof that you pay contributions to the French Social Security scheme, 3 passport photographs. A contract of employment or the necessary authorisations from the Chamber of Commerce in case of self-employment. Or if you are retired a proof that you receive a state pension (from France or your home country) If you are student you need proof that you have registered with a French University.

– Or if you are married to a French National, a copy of your marriage certificate

If you are staying for a limited duration, a resident permit will be issued for this period of time, after which your situation will be re-examined.

If you are planning to stay on a permanent basis, a resident permit will be issued for 5 years. After these 5 years, your permit can be renewed for 10 more years if you are still employed on permanent basis.

Please note that the right of residence – granted with the resident permit – can be extended to the permit holder’s spouse; dependant descendants under 21, dependants ascendants and spouse’s ascendants.

Entry and Residence of non EU Nationals
Non EU Nationals are not allowed to take up employment in France, even temporary, paid or unpaid, unless they have obtained an “”Autorisation de Travail”” (work permit) before arriving in France. The prospective employer should apply for this permit to the:

Office des Migrations Internationales
14, rue Brague 75015 Paris
Tel: 0033 1 53 69 53 70

Norway work permit requirements

EEA nationals are allowed to stay in Norway for a period of three months (90 days) on the proviso that they are financially self-sufficient (EEA nationals who are registered at their local job centre in Norway as actively seeking employment, can stay in Norway for up to 6 months without a residence permit, provided they are financially self-sufficient).

Citizens from the old EU countries, as well as citizens from Liechtenstein and Iceland can work during this period. Citizens from the new EU countries must apply for and obtain a residence permit before they can start working.

EEA nationals who wish to stay longer than 90 days, need a residence permit. Applications should be lodged at your local Police Station in Norway.

In order to apply, the following documentation must be submitted:

  • Application form
  • Valid passport
  • Two new photographs
  • Offer of Employment  / Employment contract / Other means of subsistence

The residence permit will state that it has been granted in accordance with the EEA provisions and thus gives rights and obligations which differ from residence permits granted under the general provisions.

European work permit – rule of thumb

When it comes to work permits in the European Union there is a rule of thumb. The European Commission, i.e. the unelected rulers who decree new laws to member countries, have created one approach most member countries have implemented.

So, wherever you want to work in the European Union the following general rules apply:

EU/EEA and Swiss citizens

Work permits are not required for EU/EAA (EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Swiss citizens and members of their families. In most countries you will need to get some local red tape sorted (residence permit, etc.), but this is just to keep the locals busy shifting paper. If you are a European passport holder, no one can deny your right to work in a European Union country.

The local red tape generally need to be applied for within 90 days after arrival in the country.

Non-EU/EEA citizens

Non-EU/EEA have the right to work in EU member states only after a local work permit is issued. The permit must be requested by the employer and not by the employee.

Work permits are issued
– to foreigners who possess specific skills or specialised knowledge that can not be found on the national and European labour market,
– to those wishing to be self-employed or
– if they have been commissioned by a foreign employer to provide services.

The employer must prove that no one in the European Union can fulfill the role.

The work permit is issued for a fixed period of time, usually one year, for a specific job and employer. The permit may be renewed for a further three years for executive personnel and managerial positions. Once the work permit is issued a visa, valid for the same length of time can be obtained via the embassy in the country of origin of the employee.

If you have a work permit and want to change jobs, you will have to go through the whole process again as the work permit is only given for one company. If you leave the employer your work permit becomes invalid.


How to get a EU work permit

How do you get a work permit in the EU?

We often get asked by non-Europeans how they can go about getting a European work permit.

The short answer is that this is almost impossible. The long answer is a little more convoluted.

Under EU guidelines a company can hire someone from outside the EU if they can prove that there is no one in Europe to fill the job. The company will have to advertise the vacancy in Europe and use other channels to attract someone to the job.

If they do manage to find someone the company will then have to apply for a work permit through their local government department, which is a long winded procedure and can take months. Most companies won’t want to waste time doing this, so they settle for someone else who could potentially do the job.

Given the huge unrest and unemployment levels in Europe at the moment, the chance that a company will not be able to find someone within the EU is very small. There are too many people out of work…. So, only world class specialists in their given field of work might still be able to apply and get a work permit.

Countries such as the United Kingdom, who under the previous Labour government, opened the floodgates to uneducated or partially educated workers, have now basically shut their borders to new entrants. They now use a points based system so that they can attract only highly educated workers. To see if you qualify go to the UK border agency website. Other EU countries now follow a similar approach.


Criminals are using this situation to scam unaware people. They will tell you that they will be able to obtain a work permit if you pay them a fee. This is simply a money making scam. Don’t fall for it. Most ‘work permit’ consultants a scam consultants who’s only aim is to prop up their own bank balance.

Other criminals will offer to smuggle you into Europe. That might get you into Europe, but you won’t be able to work legally. Employers face huge penalties if they employ illegal labour, so they won’t. The only way you could earn something would be to work in illegal ‘companies’ doing drugs, people trafficking, prostitution, etc. And guess who ‘run’ these companies? Exactly…..! the people who offer to smuggle you into Europe.

They know they have you over a barrel once they manage to get you into Europe. The only way to pay off the fee you had to pay to get smuggled into Europe is to work for those gangsters. And they don’t pay well, so expect to work for them a very long time in the most dire circumstances. That is if the government won’t find you and put you in jail and then on a plane back home. And when you get back home you will still have to pay off the loan you took out with those criminals in order to get you into Europe. Not a wise move! (Also read this article in the UK newspaper The Guardian)

So, the moral of all this is that if you don’t qualify, educate yourself so you might eventually qualify, or if that fails, pursue a career in the country you currently live.

It is a harsh truth……

Work permits in the Netherlands

As with most information regarding the bureaucracy in the Netherlands, this information can only be used as a guide for obtaining a work permit.

Always double check!

Citizens from the European Union/European Economic Area
People with a European Union/EEA passport can work freely in the Netherlands.

Citizens from non-EU/EEA
There are only two ways for a non-EU/EEA citizen to obtain a Dutch work permit:

1. Apply direct
The first way is to apply directly to companies yourself. The chance is very small that a company will hire you directly. The reason for this is that companies are looking for people who can start working immediately and have all their paperwork already sorted.

The red tape involved in applying for a work permit may take up to 6 months and companies just don’t have time for that. It is just too expensive. If however, you manage to find a company who wants to hire you, then the company will start the process of obtaining a work permit for you after you have obtained an MVV (“Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf”).

This process is not as easy as it sounds. The company has to prove to the Dutch government that it is in their best interest to hire you instead of all the other Dutch and EU candidates. They also have to prove that the job has been advertised for at least six weeks and that they have interviewed Dutch and EU candidates, yet you were the best person for the job.

If you obtain a work permit through a company, please bear in mind that this work permit is only issued for working within this particular company. If you stop working for that company, the permit will no longer be valid.

2. Dutch Partner
The second way of obtaining a work permit is when you have a Dutch or EU partner. Your partner must be living and working in the Netherlands and be willing to sponsor you. This means that your partner agrees to be financially responsible for you whilst you are looking for a job or if you lose your job. The two of you must prove that you are in a relationship and that you live together. If the relationship should end or one of you should move out, the permit will no longer be valid.

So, you first step is to obtain a provisional residency permit (MVV: Machtiging tot Voorlopig Verblijf) from the Dutch embassy in your home country.

To apply successfully for an MVV you must have proof that you have received a real job offer in the Netherlands (E.g. a draft employment contract and supporting letters from your prospective employer). Your prospective employer must then apply for your MVV with the CWI (Centre for work and Income). As the CWI deals with all work permit procedures, your prospective employer has to submit all the necessary documents to this organisation.

Nationals from one of the countries listed below don’t need an MVV but should arrange a residence permit (so called ‘VTV’.
This is normally rubber stamped) within the first three days of arrival in the Netherlands at office of the local Alien Police

Nationals from:

Australia Japan
Austria Luxemburg
Belgium Monaco
Canada New Zealand
Denmark Northern Ireland
Finland Norway
France Portugal
Germany Spain
Greece Sweden
Iceland Switzerland (incl. Liechtenstein)
Ireland United Kingdom
Italy USA

Nationals of all other countries should apply for a residence permit (MVV) at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in their normal country of residence before an application for a work permit application is sent. The candidate is then prohibited from travelling to any ‘Schengen’ country until a decision has been made with regard to the application. Once the work permit has been approved, the MVV will normally be issued by the Embassy within a period of a few days. However, for certain countries the MVV can take months to come through.

Citizens of Bulgaria and Romania
Citizens of Bulgaria and Romania are unable to work restriction free in the Netherlands. In most cases, the employer still needs to apply for a ‘tewerkstellingsvergunning’ (right to work) with the Dutch employment Authorities (CWI). This is a complex procedure, as the employer needs to prove that there is no Dutch citizen sufficiently qualified for the vacancy.

For the latest information, please go the IND website (the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Office) or the European Union website. The IND website provides a large amount of information, as well as forms which can be downloaded and directly sent to either the alien police (vreemdelingenpolitie) or the IND. You can also contact the IND at 0900-1234561 (10 cents per minute). From abroad dial: +31 20 8893045. E-mail:

Policy for highly skilled migrants
A highly skilled migrant is someone coming to the Netherlands for the purpose of employment, earning a minimum gross income of €49,087, or €35,997 if the highly skilled migrant is younger than 30 years of age. The income criteria will not apply if the person involved takes up employment with an educational or research institute, or is a postgraduate student or university lecturer under the age of 30.
As from 19-12-2007 graduates who finished their studies in the Netherlands can also obtain a workpermit as a “”kennismigrant””. Their minimum yearly wage should be €25,800 to qualify for this rule.

Employers wishing to employ a highly skilled migrant are no longer required to have a work permit. Companies and institutions have a duty to comply with certain obligations, i.e. to submit complete applications, to report relevant changes and to provide
for the employee. The government shall make every effort to deal with these applications as soon as possible, but within two weeks at the latest. (In reality this takes a lot longer! Sic.)

An important condition for admission as a highly skilled migrant is that the employer has concluded an agreement with the IND.
Partners and children from the knowledge migrants will be allowed to work without a work permit, if they are included in the application (and if the application is approved!).


Whether you need a work permit to work in the Netherlands depends on your nationality.

– Citizens of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom

don’t need a work permit and there are no restrictions to the amount of hours you can work.

– Citizens of other countries

do need a work permit, but this is free of charge.
In addition, Dutch law restricts the number of hours a student may work in the Netherlands.

You must chose between:

– (Fulltime) seasonal work in the months of June, July and August


– Part-time work throughout the year, but no more than 10 hours a week.

You can NOT do both!

In Dutch a work permit is called a “Tewerkstellingsverklaring”, often abbreviated to TWV. Your employer or employment agency must apply for your work permit, you cannot do this yourself, at the Centre for Work and Income (CWI), tel: +31 79 75 02 903.

A copy of the front and back of your residence permit for study purposes and proof of enrollment must accompany the application for a work permit. It will take the CWI 1-2 weeks to process the application. Your work permit will be valid for the same period
you are studying at university. You will therefore need to request a new work permit if you renew your registration at the university.

Working Holiday Scheme
The working holiday scheme enables citizens from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, between the ages of 18 and 30, to work in the Netherlands for up to one year.

You can arrange your working holiday scheme with the Dutch Embassy in your country. If you comply with the rules of the scheme, you will receive a temporary residence permit. With this permit you will also be allowed to work in the Netherlands for up to one year.

You will still have to register with the alien police (vreemdelingenpolitie) in the Netherlands (within three days of your arrival) to validate the permit.

Work permit Germany

As with most information regarding the bureaucracy in Germany, this information can only be used as a guide for obtaining a work permit.
Always double check!

What is required to get a German work permit?
You’re not truly living in Germany until the paperwork is done. Germans are punctual, ignore the paperwork at your own peril!

Here’s an overview on exactly what you’ll need.

Residence permit
Everyone who stays in Germany for longer than three months must have a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis).
There are two types of permit. You can apply for one of them at your local Auslaenderbehoerde.

The rules for what you need to get a residence permit vary somewhat from place to place and according to your status.
You’ll need a valid passport, proof that you have a place to live and proof that you can support yourself. Other things you may need include proof that you have a critical skill, proof that you are married, proof that you have independent means or a pension, and proof of health insurance.

One person can handle the work on a residence permit for an entire family. Once the permit has been approved an appropriate stamp is placed in the individual’s passport.

Registration certificate
If you decide that you are going to stay in Germany for a longer period you must have a registration certificate (Meldeschein).
You get it at the Registry Office (Einwohnermeldeamt) that is responsible for your community or your city neighborhood.
It’s often located at a precinct police station. Registering is a simple matter of going there and filling out a form. They may want to see your passport and lease, so have them with you. There is no charge for this registration.

Every time you change your residence within Germany, whether you move next door or across the country, you must report this to the registry offices at both the old and new place of residence. This isn’t an action directed at foreigners. Germans, too, must keep the police posted when they move.

The two types of residence permit are limited and unlimited. People with limited permits must leave the country after a certain period, though they can apply for an extension.

Which of these permits you get, and indeed whether you get a permit at all, depends on your circumstances. If you come from a member state of the European Union you can have an unlimited permit to stay in Germany.

You might want to join a family member who is already in Germany. Or you might want to study in Germany. Or perhaps you qualify for asylum. If you qualify for one of the above you usually get a permit unless there is a good reason not to grant it, such as a criminal record or no visible means of support.

Work in Germany
If you want to work in Germany things get more complicated. Again, people from EU countries have the same status as Germans when it comes to working, however there is a transition period for countries who recently joined the EU: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

If you are from a non-EU country, a category that includes the USA and Canada, you will need a work permit (Arbeitserlaubnis), and it might be difficult to get. Unemployment is high in Germany and they don’t want outsiders competing for those scarce jobs.

If you have a critical skill your chances of getting a work permit are greatly enhanced. You may very well get a work permit and a well paying job. Germany’s immigration laws are geared to making a move to the country attractive to the highly qualified.

Even if they don’t have critical skills there are certain cases under which a non-EU citizen is allowed to seek work. Family members of persons with critical skills can also seek work even if they don’t share those critical skills. This is a measure aimed at attracting those sought after employees.

The issuing of work permits to non-Germans is now handled by the Auslaenderbehoerde, the same office that issued your residence permit. To get the work permit you will need a Meldebescheinigung, an Auftenthaltserlaubnis and a certificate from an employer saying they are willing to take you on.

If a work permit can be issued it will be for the duration of the residence permit and must be renewed when it expires. Work permits are for a particular job only, not employment in general. If you change jobs, you’ll need to apply for a new work permit.

How to apply for permanent residence
As of the 1 January 2005 introduction of the new German Immigration Act, foreigners need only obtain a German residence permit, which gives them the right to work, rather than separate residence and work permits. Citizens of the US, Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, and Switzerland may apply for their residence and work permit while remaining in Germany as visitors.
Citizens of these countries, however, are not allowed to work in Germany until after their work and residence permit application is

Citizens of most other countries are required to apply for and obtain a residence and work permit prior to entering Germany at their German consulate.

The procedure is as follows:

Phase 1: The residence permit application (which also provides access to the labour market) for the candidate is received by the German embassy in the country where the candidate lives.

Phase 2: The Embassy passes the application to the immigration office (the Auslaenderbehoerde) in the place where the job is to take place for initial approval. The immigration office, in cooperation with the local employment office (the Arbeitsamt) that issues the permission, makes its decision.

Phase 3: If the candidate’s application has been approved, the Embassy provides an entry visa to the candidate.

Phase 4: On arriving in Germany, the foreign national and any accompanying family members must apply for their work and residence permits at the local foreigners authority.

For an EU or EEA citizen, getting a work permit is a relatively easy procedure, in keeping with the process of creating a borderless Europe. You first have to arrange a residence permit and apply for an income tax card (‘Lohnsteuerkarte’) if you are going to be employed by a company on a contract.

For those planning to work freelance, all you need is a tax number, which you can get from your local tax office (‘Finanzamt’).

But a non-EU citizen must clear more hurdles. Having gone through the same steps as EU and EEA citizens, he or she must then apply for a work permit (‘Arbeitserlaubnis’) at the labour office (‘Arbeitsamt’) in the area where his or her prospective employer is based. It is also possible to obtain work permits at some German diplomatic missions in other nations.

Germany Working Holiday Visa Information Citizens of full European (EFTA, EEA) Member Countries are able to live and work in Germany without a visa or work permit.

Germany has working holiday agreements with Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Japan. Under the working holiday programme visa holders will be able to stay in Germany for up to 12 months. Holiday jobs can be taken up to help finance their stay.

To be eligible applicants must:

* Be 18 and 30 years
* Not accompanied by children
* Posses A Valid Passport
* Have Proof of sufficient fund
* Posses return air tickets or equivalent funds
* Show proof of health insurance valid in Germany for the duration of the stay.

Canadian applicants must also:

* Be enrolled at a post-secondary institution
* Have a written job offer from an employer in Germany before leaving Canada.
* Be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of German.

If you intend to visit Germany, on holiday, a business trip, to study, work, volunteer or as an emigrant you should get up to date and accurate information from the official website of the German Foreign Office.

Work permits in the United Kingdom, a.k.a. Great Britain, England

As with most information regarding the bureaucracy in the UK, this information can only be used as a guide for obtaining a work permit.
Always double check!

Whether you need a visa to enter the UK depends on your:

  • reason for visiting
  • country of nationality
  • current location

The UK now has a points-based system for approving some categories of visa application.
Entry Clearance officers will look at all of the information and documentation you provide, and determine whether you should have a visa.

Visa Check
You can check whether you need a visa by completing the interactive questionnaire:

Do I need a visa?

How to apply

If you are coming to the United Kingdom as a business, sports, entertainer or special visitor for a short time, check the Home Office website for business and special visitors with regards to information on how to apply.

Highly skilled workers, investors and entrepreneurs
Highly skilled workers, investors, entrepreneurs and foreign students who have graduated from a United Kingdom university can apply under a new points-based system. You do not need to have a specific job offer, but you will need to pass a points-based assessment to be eligible to apply.

Sponsored skilled workers
If you have a job offer from a UK-based employer who is prepared to sponsor you, you can apply for permission to enter
or stay in the United Kingdom.

Temporary workers
If you want to come to the United Kingdom to undertake short-term, temporary work there are specific arrangements for you.

Workers from the European Economic Area and Switzerland
If you are a national of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you are free to enter and stay in the United Kingdom.

Workers from countries that have recently joined the EU
If you are a national of a state that recently joined the European Union, you may have to register with the UK Border Agency or apply for their permission before you start to work.

Other categories
This section contains information about other work-based categories. The categories within this section are domestic workers; sole representatives
of overseas firms; and representatives of overseas newspapers, news agencies and broadcasting organisations.