Less restrictions to work for family members of expats

Publication date: 25 November 2019
Currently, family members of self-employed expats require a work permit for non-EU nationals (TWV) to work as employees. As of 1 October 2020 this will no longer be necessary.


As of 1 October 2020, family members of self-employed expats do no longer require a work permit for non-EU nationals (TWV) to work as an employee.

Self-employed expats in the Netherlands cannot work as employees without a work permit. This also applies to the expat’s family members. If they still wish to work as an employee, the intended employer will first have to apply for a work permit. The requirements for a work permit are very strict.

This additional threshold makes it less attractive for expat-entrepreneurs to come and work in the Netherlands. As a consequence, they are more likely to have to take care of the family’s income alone. From the beginning of 2020, the work permit requirement for family members of self-employed expats will no longer apply. Family members are then free to work as employee, without a work permit

When can family members of expats work in the Netherlands?

In principle, spouses and partners of expats have the same rights to work as the expatriates themselves. The term of their rights is also linked to the rights of the expat. If the expat requires a work permit for non-EU nationals (TWV), the partner will also need it. If the expat is self-employed, the partner may also only work on a self-employed basis until 1 October 2020. And he or she must also meet the conditions for workings as a self-employed person.

There are a few exceptions to this main rule:

Highly skilled migrants/EU Blue Card

Family members of highly-skilled migrants, academic researchers and holders of the EU Blue Card may take up any work. Their employer does not have to apply for a work permit (TWV).

Combined permit for residence and work (GVVA)

Your partner does not need a combined permit for residence and work in order to work, but he or she does need a work permit for non-EU nationals.

More information

Do you want to learn more about the possibilities for your family members to work in the Netherlands? Or do you have any other questions about the right of residence and employment of expats? Please contact us:

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