NETHERLANDS: Work Permission Requirements for Japanese Nationals Reintroduced

July 6, 2016

The Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service announced on 21st June 2016 that they are reintroducing the requirement for Japanese nationals to obtain immigration permission to work in the Netherlands. From 1st October 2016, Japanese nationals will require work permits to work in the Netherlands.

Previously, thanks to an applicable treaty between the countries that dates back to early 1900s, and a related judgement of the Dutch Council of State in December 2014, Japanese nationals were no longer subject to work authorisation (work permits) in order to perform work activities in the Netherlands. However, on the 20th June 2016 the Dutch Foreign Ministry published an interpretation of the Dutch-Swiss Friendship Treaty with the conclusion that entry residence and access to the labour market remains a national matter to be regulated by national governments.

Transitional arrangements are to be put in place permitting Japanese nationals, currently holding a valid Dutch residence permit, to continuing working in the Netherlands under their residence permit status (without the need for a work permit) during the validity of their residence permit. Where such residence permit holders are required to renew their residence permits on or after 1st October 2016, they will require a work permit.

If you are an employer in the Netherlands employing or wishing to employ Japanese nationals in the Netherlands, you are advised to look at submitting applications before 1st October 2016 to benefit from the current work permit free arrangements for Japanese nationals. For further information and assistance, please contact us at