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Do you have questions about work and income in the Netherlands? These resources will help you on your way.

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Last updated: Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Are refugees from Ukraine allowed to work?

The government gives refugees from Ukraine (also under 18 years of age) who want to take up employment an exemption for a work permit. In order to obtain this, you must fall under the Temporary Protection Directive. You are advised to register for this at the municipality where you are staying. In addition, refugees need a proof of residence and a BSN in order to work. Please note: until 1 September 2022, a proof of residence is not obligatory. Refugees then need a Ukrainian passport, proof of identity or proof from the Ukrainian embassy. Or a Ukrainian residence permit or Ukrainian refugee recognition valid on 23 February 2022. Employers must report to the UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) as soon as possible that they have employed a refugee from Ukraine. Go to the website of the Government of Ukraine for more information.

UWV (Employee Insurance Agency)

Are you looking for work in the Netherlands? As a refugee, you can get a job via the regular private routes (e.g. via employment agencies). From 1 July 2022, refugees with the Ukrainian nationality can also be assisted by the UWV and municipalities in finding a job. Also, if you want to know if you are entitled to a benefit, to apply for it or if you have questions about illness during employment you can contact this government institution. At this moment refugees without the Ukrainian nationality cannot be assisted by the UWV.

I have a job. Do I have to get insurance?

The rule is that you have to have health insurance when you work in the Netherlands. We call this the obligation to have insurance. Although this obligation to have health insurance will remain, it will no longer be enforced in the case of refugees from Ukraine. As of 1 August 2022, refugees from Ukraine will no longer need to have health insurance when they work. Your health care costs will then be reimbursed by the RMO. Did you receive a warning letter from the CAK, stating that you have to take out a health insurance within 3 months? Then contact the CAK.

Werk.nl (Work.nl)

The website below provides information and advice on working in the Netherlands. You can go there with all your questions about finding a job, or if you want to know whether you are entitled to unemployment benefits.

Contract & working conditions

In the Netherlands, you have certain rights as an employee, such as a safe working environment. In addition, there is a minimum wage in the Netherlands that increases with age up to 21 years; from then on, it is a fixed amount. On the website loonwijzer (salary indicator) you can compare your wages with those of others in the same sector to see whether you are getting a fair wage. All conditions of employment are laid down in your contract, such as breaks and holidays. In addition, you are entitled to paid leave under certain circumstances: maternity leave, parental leave and care leave. For questions and more information, please visit the website of the Legal Help Desk (Juridisch Loket). You can also call 0900-8020 (€ 0.10 per minute), Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. A lawyer will be on the phone.

Minimum wage

From the age of 21, employees are entitled to a minimum wage. These are gross amounts; taxes and premiums will be deducted. The wage per month depends on the working week, often in the Netherlands there are working weeks of 36, 38 or 40 hours. For more information on minimum wage, see the website of the Government of the Netherlands.

Work and mandatory education until the age of 18

In the Netherlands, children between the ages of 5 and 16 are subject to mandatory education. This also applies to children with a different nationality and to the children of asylum seekers and foreign nationals. If you do not have a secondary school diploma by the time you turn 16 (a so-called start qualification), you must continue to study until you turn 18. You are allowed to work in the Netherlands from the age of 16. Some light, non-industrial work may also be done by children as young as 13. For example, chores in the neighborhood, babysitting, filling shelves in the supermarket, picking fruits and vegetables or delivering advertising leaflets. Other activities, such as working in a factory, delivering newspapers or working behind the cash register are prohibited for children under 16.

General information about work and social benefits

VluchtelingenWerk supports refugees and asylum seekers from the moment they are accommodated in the Netherlands until they have found their way independently. On the website you will find an overview of all essential information regarding work and income. Another organization to turn to with questions about finding a job or if you want to know whether you are entitled to unemployment benefits is the government agency UWV. Please note that the information on both sites is meant for asylum seekers. Refugees from Ukraine may have different rights and obligations.

International credential evaluation

If you have a foreign diploma, it is possible that your diploma has a different value in the Netherlands. That is why an employer can ask for an international credential evaluation. On the website of the International Credential Evaluation (IDW) you can find more information about this. You can also request an international credential evaluation there.

Prevent exploitation

Refugees working in the Netherlands have the same rights as Dutch nationals who are employed. Unfortunately, there are employers and employment agencies that try to exploit refugees. In this flyer, you will find all relevant information to prevent this. For example, about your rights and obligations as an employee, but also about agencies where you can go for advice if you are still searching for or already have a job. The flyer is an initiative of the Red Cross, together with FairWork, the Salvation Army and VluchtelingenWerk Nederland (the Dutch Council for Refugees). The flyer is available in English,Ukrainianand Russian.

Are refugees with other nationalities allowed to work?

If you do not have Ukrainian citizenship, you are allowed to work in The Netherlands under certain conditions. For example, you must be able to prove that you had a Ukrainian residence permit or Ukrainian recognition as a refugee on Feb. 23, 2022. Also, you must have a proof of recidence in The Netherlands.

Living and working in different EU countries

As a refugee from Ukraine, you cannot work in one EU country if you are registered in another EU country and have temporary protection there. You do have the right to stay visa-free for 90 days in another EU country. More information can be found on this website of the European Commission.

Wage tax deduction

Do you work in salaried employment in the Netherlands? Then you are entitled to a reduction on your taxes. This is called 'loonheffingskorting' (wage tax reduction). You can apply for this reduction with your employer, or via this form of the Belastingdienst. Your employer then pays less taxes, which means you get more salary on your bank account.

Please note: if you work for multiple employers at the same time, you can only claim loonheffingskorting from one employer. Would you like to make use of the loonheffingskorting? Then please indicate this to your employer.

Your loonheffingskorting is calculated based on your income. The maximum amount of loonheffingskorting is €3,399 a year. With an income of € 34,060 or more, the loonheffingskorting becomes progressively lower. How much loonheffingskorting you will receive depends on your salary. On the website of the Belastingdienst you can see how to calculate your loonheffingskorting.

Different types of leave

The currently approved translation is not correct, please review my translation: "On the website of the National Government, you can find an overview of all the types of leave you can apply for in the Netherlands if you have a job. Think about pregnancy leave, parental leave or care leave. ".

The Dutch working culture

Are you going to work in the Netherlands? Then you will get to know the Dutch work culture. This may be different from what you are used to. It tends to be:

  • Informal

Workplaces are informal. It's not weird to ask questions to a manager. All opinions are welcome. The Dutch find equality very important.

  • Planned

Always keep an appointment and be on time. A deal is a deal: If you make work commitments, then your colleagues and your manager expect you to keep them. If you do not finish your work, tell them in time. Usually your colleagues will then help you to finish your work on time.

  • Direct

In the Netherlands people speak very directly. This can come across as blunt or harsh. But it is not meant to be unkind. It is meant to communicate clearly. Sometimes humor is also used to give feedback. This is not meant to bully you, but to tell you what you do well or what could be improved.

  • Balanced

The Dutch keep work and private life separate. Outside of work hours, people (usually) do not answer emails or phone calls anymore. It is also normal not to work one day a week. Then there is time for yourself or for family.

You can read more about the Dutch work culture at deze website. The website is available in English.

Volunteer work

You can volunteer when you are staying in the Netherlands. Voluntary work is work you do unpaid and without obligation, for others or for society. Voluntary work has no effect on your living allowance, because you do not get paid for it. If you do receive a small payment, your entitlement to financial support ends. You must report this to the municipality. The allowance will then end on the first day of the following month. You can find more information on the website of the central government. Would you like to volunteer? Then go to the website of "Nederland Voor Elkaar" (Netherlands for each other). On this website you can also find information about how you can help other refugees from Ukraine. The website can be read in Dutch and English.