As an international student in Holland, you have the possibility to work while studying. Having a job can help you pay for some of your expenses and can provide you with extra spending money while giving you work experience in a foreign country at the same time. Depending on your nationality, you may be subject to some extra requirements or restrictions in order to be able to work.
European Union and European Economic Area students (excluding Croatia), as well as students from Switzerland, are able to work in the Netherlands with no restrictions.
Citizens of these countries can easily find a job while studying in Holland by using a number of resources such as job boards, online postings, employment agencies, and more. A work permit is not required for you and there is no limit on how many hours you can work.
Students from Croatia and non-EU/EEA countries
Croatian and non-EU/EEA students have some restrictions that apply before they are able to work in Holland.
- A work permit is required:
If you find a job, you are required to also get a work permit in order to be legally employed. Work permits are applied for by your employer and, once approved by the UWV Werkbedrijf (Employee Insurance Schemes Implementing Body), will allow you to work for a maximum of 10 hours per week during the school year (in certain cases, Croatian students can have this amount increased).
You may also prefer to work full-time. This is another option, but it is only possible for the months of June, July, and August. In order to work in the Netherlands, you must pick one of the two options; you can either work part-time throughout the academic year, or full-time throughout the summer months.
- Working without a work permit:
There is an exception to the work permit requirement if you are completing an internship as part of your study. In this case you will not be required to get a work permit, but your institution and your employer will need to sign an internship agreement.
A Citizen's Service Number (Burgerservicenummer – BSN) is also required in order to start working in Holland. You should have obtained this from your local city hall when you registered as a resident (usually arranged by universities in the first week of student orientation).
In order to work in the Netherlands, both EU and non-EU students are required to have Dutch public health insurance, known as basiszorgverzekering. Insurance from your home country, private healthcare insurance, or an EU Health Insurance Card does not provide adequate coverage and failing to meet this requirement can result in a large fine.
Public health insurance is more expensive than the private insurance that is usually sufficient for only studying in Holland. If you don’t intend to work throughout the whole study period, the best option when choosing an insurance company would be to pick one that offers the possibility of switching between public and private insurance.
Income tax and social security
Please note that you are required to pay income tax on any money you make during your study or stay in the Netherlands. Social security taxes will be deducted from your income each month as well. These taxes go towards unemployment benefits or disability pay and ensure that you, as an employee, will be insured in case of any work-related accidents. Depending on your wage, these taxes may deduct up a third of your gross salary.
Where to look for job opportunities
Many of the expat sites in Holland have a ‘Jobs’ section where you can look for open positions.
There are also employment agencies, called uitzendbureaus in Dutch, that may be able to help. Two of the most popular in the Netherlands are Randstad, a large agency with global offices, and Undutchables, a small organisation that focuses on helping non-Dutch speakers find jobs.
It is also useful to attend career fairs that are held a few times a year, often organized by universities, to find available positions. The international office at your school should have some additional information about where to find jobs, so be sure to ask there as well.
Some English job vacancy and recruitment websites
- Eures - European Job Mobility Portal