I’m British. Which provisions of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement are important when doing business in the Netherlands?

The agreement between the EU and the UK on a new partnership contains limited arrangements about temporary entry for short-term business trips and temporary secondments of skilled employees. Depending on your situation you may also be eligible to work in the Netherlands under national legislation. In most cases, you or your employer will have to apply for a residence and/or work permit for you. For more information, visit the IND website or werk.nl (Dutch) 

Lees deze informatie in het Nederlands.

Important: the ban on non-essential travel imposed as part of COVID-19 measures also applies to UK nationals as of 1 January 2021. Read what this means for you.

Are you a Dutch national who wants to enter and temporarily stay in the UK for business purposes? If so, read the UK government’s rules.

Under the EU-UK agreement, you can enter the Netherlands temporarily without your employer having to apply for a work permit in the following cases:

  • Short-term business visitor
    You are coming to the Netherlands as a short-term business visitor. In this case, you can stay in the Netherlands for up to 90 days within any six-month period without your employer having to apply for a work permit for you, provided you meet the conditions set out in the agreement. Annex SERVIN-3, paragraph 8 of the agreement lists the activities you are permitted to engage in. They include meetings and consultations, trade fairs and exhibitions, after-sales or after-lease service, and marketing research. If your activity is not listed, you cannot make use of this provision. The activity must not involve selling goods or supplying services to the general public. As a short-term business visitor, you are also not allowed to receive remuneration, on your own behalf, from a source located in the Netherlands.
     
  • Business visitor for establishment purposes
    You are coming to the Netherlands as a business visitor for establishment purposes. In this case, you can stay in the Netherlands for up to 90 days within any six-month period without your employer having to apply for a work permit for you, provided you meet the conditions set out in the agreement. The conditions are that you work in a senior position within a legal person in the UK and are responsible for setting up an enterprise of that legal person in the Netherlands. You are not allowed to offer or provide services or engage in any economic activity other than that which is required for the purposes of the establishment of that enterprise. And you must not receive remuneration from a source located in the Netherlands.
     
  • In addition to the provisions of the EU-UK agreement, Dutch legislation on the employment of third-country nationals (i.e. individuals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland) sets out several exceptional situations in which your employer does not have to apply for a work permit for you. If you meet the conditions, you can make use of these provisions too.

Under the EU-UK agreement, your employer or client may be eligible for a more lenient assessment when applying for your work permit in the following cases:

  • Intra-corporate transferee
    You are employed as a manager, specialist or trainee by a legal person in the UK and  temporarily transferred to an enterprise of that same legal person in the Netherlands. If you meet the conditions set out in the agreement, you or your employer can apply to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) for a combined residence and work permit (GVVA) or to the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) for an employment permit (TWV), depending on the duration of the work. A more lenient labour market test is carried out during the assessment of the application. This means that your employer does not have to take the usual step of demonstrating that your empolyer first spent at least three months searching for candidates in the Netherlands and the EEA or Switzerland. Nor is your employer required to first notify the UWV of the vacancy. The application procedure and the conditions to be met by applicants are the same as for other third-country nationals. For more information, visit the IND website or werk.nl (for groups)
  • Contractual service supplier
    You are coming to the Netherlands temporarily as a contractual service supplier in one of the sectors opened for this purpose (see annex SERVIN-4 of the agreement). If you meet the conditions, you can perform work in the Netherlands for up to 12 months or until the contract expires (if this period is shorter than 12 months). Your employer must, however, apply for a work permit for you (either an employment permit from the UWV or a combined residence and work permit from the IND, depending on the duration of the work). For most sectors, a more lenient labour market test is carried out during the assessment of the application, if the relevant conditions are met. This means that your employer does not have to take the usual step of demonstrating that your employer first spent at least three months searching for candidates in the Netherlands and the EEA or Switzerland. Nor is your employer or client required to first notify the UWV of the vacancy.
    In addition to the above conditions regarding duration and sector, the following conditions apply if you want to make use of this provision:
    • You are employed by an employer established in the UK that is not established in the territory of the Netherlands and is not an agency for placement and supply services of personnel.
    • A contract not exceeding 12 months has been concluded to supply services to a final consumer requiring your temporary presence in the Netherlands.
    • You possess, on the date of your application for entry and temporary stay, a university degree or a qualification demonstrating knowledge of an equivalent level and the professional qualifications legally required to exercise that activity in the Netherlands.
    • You possess, on the date of your application for entry and temporary stay, at least three years’ professional experience, obtained after having reached the age of majority, in the sector of activity that is the object of the contract.
    • You do not receive remuneration from a source located in the Netherlands.
  • Independent professional
    You are coming to the Netherlands temporarily as an independent professional in one of the sectors opened for this purpose (see annex SERVIN-4 of the agreement). If you meet the conditions, you can perform work in the Netherlands for up to 12 months or until the contract expires (if this period is shorter than 12 months). Your client must, however, apply for a work permit for you (in Dutch) (either an employment permit from the UWV or a combined residence and work permit from the IND, depending on the duration of the work). A more lenient labour market test is carried out during the assessment of the application, if the relevant conditions are met.

    This means that your client does not have to take the usual step of demonstrating that your client first spent at least three months searching for candidates in the Netherlands and the EEA or Switzerland. Nor is your client required to first notify the UWV of the vacancy. In addition to the above conditions regarding duration and sector, the following conditions apply if you want to make use of this provision:
    • You are established as self-employed in the UK and do not have an establishment in the territory of the Netherlands.
    • You have concluded a contract (other than through an agency for placement and supply services of personnel) for a period not exceeding 12 months to supply services to a final consumer, requiring your temporary presence in the Netherlands.
    • You possess, on the date of your application for entry and temporary stay, a university degree or a qualification demonstrating knowledge of an equivalent level and the professional qualifications legally required to exercise that activity in the Netherlands.
    • You possess, on the date of your application, at least six years’ professional experience, obtained after having reached the age of majority, in the sector of activity that is the object of the contract.