A foreign national from outside the EU / EEA and Switzerland may only perform work in the Netherlands if he/she has a GVVA. The EEA is the European Economic Area. This includes all countries of the EU (the European Union), plus the countries of Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland.

The GVVA is a combined permit for residence and for work. If your employee is coming to work for you in the Netherlands for a period of more than three months, you must apply for this permit from the IND.

As an employer, you cannot simply apply for a GVVA for your foreign employee.

  1. You must first have tried for a period of five weeks to fill the vacancy with an employee from the EU / EEA or Switzerland. This is called the priority offer. For functions that are difficult to fill, this may be extended to even a three-month period.
  2.  You must have registered the vacancy with the UWV (The employers’ service point via www.werk.nl).
  3. If the vacancy has been with the UWV for five weeks without it being filled, then you can request a GVVA.


There are some exceptions to the main rule that you must apply for a GVVA. We can advise you on this.

For example, if the period in which work will be performed is shorter than three months, you may not need to apply for a GVVA; a work permit may be enough.

If the employee already has a right of residence in the Netherlands, applying for a work permit alone may be sufficient for them to perform work in the Netherlands. A GVVA may not be required.

A GVVA is not required for employees who come to the Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant, as holder of a European Blue Card or through application of the ICT Directive.

You may also enjoy these articles

Redundancy and residence rights
Top 7 tips for highly skilled migrants
When to fight for your rights as an expat in the netherlands