Business in the Netherlands

Jun 8, 2016

Foreign nationals entering the Netherlands on business, for a total period of 3 months, often do not realise that work authorisation is required.  When warned, I often have stubborn reactions: “but I am here for only a few weeks and will only participate in meetings”.

As a general rule, I inform my clients (EU/EEA/Swiss nationals not included) that work authorisation is required, irrespective of the duration of the working activities. For some limited categories of activities however,  work authorisation is waived. Business meetings on behalf of the home country employer is indeed one of them. But do you realise that the business person may only share procedures? Sharing procedures means exchanging information on an equal level (peer-to-peer). It should not include knowledge transfer neither may it include any training activities. Furthermore, the work authorisation requirement is waived for a maximum of 13 weeks within a 52 week period, be it interrupted or not.  And what happens when you leave the meeting room and check and answer your emails in the room next door? Yes, you are working and yes, authorisation is required.

Software implementation is another activity that may fall under the grey area of exemptions. As long as the foreign national travels to the Netherland to install and implement software products on equipment manufactured and supplied by the home country company of the employee, there will be no issues. But what happens to the Indian national travelling from India to the Netherlands to implement software on equipment manufactured in, for example, the United States? Yes, work authorisation is required.

Lastly, did you know that Dutch wage tax may be due on these Dutch working days (even if authorisation is not necessary)? This will, for example, be the case if no Dutch tax treaty applies or if your wage is charged to a Dutch entity.

It is recommendable to check ahead whether specific activities fall under an exemption. So please be warned, the above are not the only exceptions, and contact us on time. We will be happy to check whether the activities are covered.