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Living and working conditions

Netherlands

GENERAL INFORMATION

Area - 41,865 km2

Population – 17,424,978

Official Language – Dutch; Regional - English, Papiamento, West Frisian; Recognised - Dutch Low Saxon, Limburgish

REGISTRATION AND RESIDENCE PERMITS

If you are a national of one of the Member States of the EU/EEA or Switzerland and wish to come to the Netherlands, the following procedure applies:

  • registration with the local authority in the Netherlands in which you are resident;
  • if you wish to stay for less than 4 months or if you require a Citizen Service Number you can make a telephone appointment with one of the following local authorities:

https://almanak.overheid.nl/categorie/2/Gemeenten_A-Z/

For residence you will in any case need:

  • a valid passport or other valid travel document;
  • sufficient means of support;
  • a certificate of medical insurance (see Chapter 4.6 on medical insurance).

The following reasons for residence are considered as a stay pursuant to the Treaty Establishing the European Community:

  • work;
  • study;
  • economic inactivity;
  • residence as a family member of an EU national.

Even if you do not need a residence document (period of stay < 3 months), it may still be useful to have a declaration of registration with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service/IND. Organisations such as the Tax and Customs Administration and banks may request this.

LOOKING FOR A JOB

General:

There are many different ways of finding work in the Netherlands. However, more than 60 % of all vacancies are filled informally. Having a good network therefore improves your chance of finding a job in the Netherlands. Channels commonly used to find work include:

The UWV:

The UWV (public employment service of the Employee Insurance Schemes Agency) supports and assists jobseekers in their search for work. Registration with the UWV employment service is not compulsory.

Employment agencies, recruitment and selection agencies and secondment agencies:

There are many specialised employment agencies in the Netherlands. Recruitment and selection agencies, including ‘head-hunters’, are also active. It is normal for these agencies to first ask candidates to take a psychological test or an assessment. As well as temping work, working on a secondment basis is also increasingly common. Among other things, employment agencies use this method to keep IT and other specialists in particular under contract.

Advertisements:

You are advised to consult the Dutch newspapers (also available digitally) for vacancies. The Saturday editions of national newspapers contain the most vacancies.

NRC Handelsblad: managerial positions.

De Volkskrant: public sector, academia/medical professions.

De Telegraaf and Algemeen Dagblad: commercial vacancies.

The main regional newspapers.

Internet:

Online applications on companies’ websites and the use of CV databases, such as that of EURES and the UWV, are the norm. Employers use CV databases to recruit candidates. If you can understand Dutch, you can use the UWV website www.werk.nl.

Job fairs:

Job fairs, particularly speed dates, are becoming increasingly popular. They are organised by, among others:

the UWV

employment agencies

colleges and universities

Keep an eye on the websites of these organisations, among others, for dates and locations.

INCOMES AND TAXATION

Income tax is levied on the pay of an employee. The employer deducts tax at source and remits it together with the social security contributions to the Tax and Customs Administration. This levy at source is an advance levy for income tax.

Income tax is levied on sources of income in accordance with the ‘box’ system.

This comprises three boxes:

  • Box I: income from employment and home ownership,
  • Box II: income from a ‘substantial interest’,
  • Box III: income from savings and investments.

Tax is levied differently for each box. The income from the various boxes is not interchangeable. It is therefore not possible to offset negative income from one box against positive income from another box.

The tax rate for income from employment and home ownership (Box I) is progressive and is charged over four ‘brackets’. Each bracket has a fixed tax rate. As a result, the higher the income, the more tax paid.

Motor vehicle tax: the amount of the motor vehicle tax depends on the weight of the vehicle and the type of fuel used. This may vary slightly from province to province. The website of the Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) contains a program for calculating this amount.

Local taxes:

The type and amount of local tax to be paid varies according to the local authority. Common local taxes include: property tax, commuter tax, tourist tax, parking tax, tax on dogs, tax on advertising, sufferance tax (precariobelasting), sewage charges, refuse collection charges, and legal fees.

Information can be obtained from the relevant local authority. Information can also be found on the website ‘Postbus 51’ (www.rijksoverheid.nl) or the homepage of your local authority.

Text last edited on: 07/2019

COST OF LIVING

The Netherlands is a relatively expensive country compared to other EU countries.

The cost of living varies according to the area, and there is a clear difference between living in a town or city and living in the country. The cities are the most expensive, above all Amsterdam.

It is cheaper to live in the north and east of the country than in the centre and west of the country (the Randstad, the conurbation of the western Netherlands).

Although it is difficult to give a precise picture of the cost of living, below is an overall picture of the price/daily cost of a selection of products:

   

Bread:

€1.20

Cup of coffee:

€2.20

Glass of beer:

€ 2.50

Chips with croquette:

€4.00

Cinema ticket:

€10.00

Short bus ride:

€2.00

Litre of petrol (regular unleaded):

€1.65

Car hire (medium-sized):

€80.00

Two-course menu in a restaurant:

€27.50

The price of food varies from shop to shop, so it is advisable to compare prices. The same applies to fuel for your vehicle. Prices generally also depend on where you live in the Netherlands.

There are many different types of supermarket in the Netherlands. Nowadays not every village has a shop. Most towns and villages have a weekly market where it is possible to buy food, clothing, flowers, tools/utensils, etc. Market prices are lower than those in shops.

The Netherlands also has various second-hand shops, e.g. the Kringloopwinkel, a shop specialising in recycled goods. In these shops you can buy clothing, household items and furniture, among other things.

Many Dutch people are currently finding it difficult to make ends meet, and there are various bodies offering advice and information on how to deal with debt and money in general.

Text last edited on: 07/2019

EDUCATION SYSTEM

Children in the 5-16 age group are obliged to attend school by law. Compulsory school attendance applies to all children who live in the Netherlands or stay there for long periods, regardless of their nationality or religion.

A child must start school no later than the first day of the month following his or her fifth birthday. For example, if a child’s birthday is on 22 February, he or she must therefore attend school from 1 March onwards. The majority of children in the Netherlands (some 99 %) start school at the age of four. During this extra year, children can get used to going to school and have the opportunity to learn to understand and speak Dutch better. This applies in particular to children who speak another language at home. A 4-year-old child is not covered by the Compulsory Education Act after enrolling at a school, so the parents can agree with the school on their child’s presence at and absence from school.

After group 8 of primary education (public and religious education), children enter higher general secondary or pre-vocational secondary education. After 4 or 5 years, once the pupil has obtained a diploma he or she can, depending on the level of preparatory education, continue into intermediate vocational education or higher vocational or university education.

Tuition fees must be paid from the age of 18. Student loans are very common in higher education.

School holidays:

Certain periods in the school year are designated as holidays. Children may not be taken out of school for a holiday outside these set periods, except with the consent of the local authority (compulsory attendance officer).

A child is obliged to attend school on a full-time basis up to and including the school year (1 August to 31 July) in which he or she reaches the age of 16. This is followed by a partial attendance obligation. The young person must then follow a course for at least 2 days a week for one year at an educational establishment (intermediate vocational education or adult education institution or institution designated by the Education Minister). In the case of intermediate vocational education combined with a practical training contract, the attendance requirement may be less than 2 days. This partial attendance obligation can be combined with a job, depending on the type of training institution. Young people who leave school after the school year in which they reach the age of 17 are not subject to a partial attendance obligation.

RECOGNITION OF DIPLOMAS AND QUALIFICATIONS

The importance of transparency and mutual recognition of diplomas as a crucial complement to the free movement of workers

The possibility of obtaining recognition of one’s qualifications and competences can play a vital role in the decision to take up work in another EU country. It is therefore necessary to develop a European system that will guarantee the mutual acceptance of professional competences in different Member States. Only such a system will ensure that a lack of recognition of professional qualifications will become an obstacle to workers’ mobility within the EU.

Main principles for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU

As a basic principle, any EU citizen should be able to freely practice their profession in any Member State. Unfortunately the practical implementation of this principle is often hindered by national requirements for access to certain professions in the host country.

For the purpose of overcoming these differences, the EU has set up a system for the recognition of professional qualifications. Within the terms of this system, a distinction is made between regulated professions (professions for which certain qualifications are legally required) and professions that are not legally regulated in the host Member State.

Steps towards a transparency of qualifications in Europe

The European Union has taken important steps towards the objective of achieving transparency of qualifications in Europe:

  • An increased co-operation in vocational education and training, with the intention to combine all instruments for transparency of certificates and diplomas, in one single, user-friendly tool. This includes, for example, the European CV or Europass Trainings.
  • The development of concrete actions in the field of recognition and quality in vocational education and training.

Going beyond the differences in education and training systems throughout the E

Education and training systems in the EU Member States still show substantial differences. The last enlargements of the EU, with different educational traditions, have further increased this diversity. This calls for a need to set up common rules to guarantee recognition of competences.

In order to overcome this diversity of national qualification standards, educational methods and training structures, the European Commission has put forward a series of instruments, aimed at ensuring better transparency and recognition of qualifications both for academic and professional purposes.

  1. The European Qualifications Framework

The European Qualifications Framework is a key priority for the European Commission in the process of recognition of professional competences. The main objective of the framework is to create links between the different national qualification systems and guarantee a smooth transfer and recognition of diplomas.

  1. The National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARICs)

A network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres was established in 1984 at the initiative of the European Commission. The NARICs provide advice on the academic recognition of periods of study abroad. Located in all EU Member States as well as in the countries of the European Economic Area, NARICs play a vital role the process of recognition of qualifications in the EU.

  1. The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)

​​​​​​​The European Credit Transfer System aims at facilitating the recognition of periods of study abroad. Introduced in 1989, it functions by describing an education programme and attaching credits to its components. It is a key complement to the highly acclaimed student mobility programme Erasmus.

  1. Europass

​​​​​​​Europass is an instrument for ensuring the transparency of professional skills. It is composed of five standardised documents The Europass system makes skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in the different parts of Europe. In every country of the European Union and the European Economic Area, national Europass centres have been established as the primary contact points for people seeking for information about the Europass system.

  • a CV (Curriculum Vitae),
  • a language passport,
  • certificate supplements,
  • diploma supplements, and
  • a Europass-Mobility document

USEFUL LINKS

http://www.government.nl  - Government
http://www.werk.nl   -   Public Employment Service                                       
http://internationalezaken.szw.nl - Ministry of Labour
http://www.arbeidsinspectie.nl - General labour Inspectorate                 
http://www.belastingdienst.nl/organisatie/en/ - Taxes                                                        
http://www.minvws.nlhttp://www.kennisring.nl/ - Social Security                                         
http://www.nuffic.nl, http://www.idw.nl- Recognition of Qualifications

                                                                  

                                                                     Information from the Dutch Ministry of Labor

If you want to work in the Netherlands, you need to know your rights and be familiar with the basic requirements for work and residence. This will avoid frustrating situations. Salaries in the Netherlands are higher than your salaries in your country, but this also applies to everyday expenses. If you are well informed, you have a better chance of finding a suitable and secure job and have a pleasant stay in the Netherlands.
 
Your employment contract
Your rights and obligations depend on your employment contract. Note the following:
You must obtain a contract of employment in the language you speak and understand you. Usually a written employment contract is concluded, but the oral contract is also valid. Agree clearly and precisely on:
§ your salary;
§ exactly when your salary will be paid;
§ pay for additional work;
§ payment of travel expenses from home to work and vice versa;
§ payment of travel expenses for return to Bulgaria.

- Do you work for a Dutch temporary recruitment office? In this case, you will often work for one or several companies. The specificity of working through such a bureau is that the employment contract ends if the company to which your bureau sent you no longer works for you. The Bureau is not obliged to offer you a new job. You will only be paid for the hours actually worked. If you are hired by the Temporary Recruitment Bureau, you can terminate the contract at any time. Ask your desk about other working conditions.
- Do you work for a Bulgarian company in the Netherlands? If you have a contract with a Bulgarian company or with a temporary recruitment office that sends you to the Netherlands, then this is a business trip. If you wish, you can continue to be insured in Bulgaria. To do this, your employer or you must apply for an A1 form in Bulgaria. When posting you, the requirements laid down in Dutch law for pay, hours, extra work and safety apply. This means that in any case you are paid the minimum wage paid in the Netherlands.
  - Do you work directly for a Dutch company (not a temporary staff recruitment desk)? In this case, the Dutch legislation is fully applicable to you. If you have a temporary employment contract, you have the right to receive a salary throughout the contract period. You cannot be dismissed prematurely or leave your job prematurely. If you have a permanent employment contract, you are protected from dismissal. Your employer can only fire you with the permission of the authorities. Often, employment contracts include a trial period of two months. During the probationary period, the worker may be fired without permission from the authorities.
 
Salary
You are always entitled to the gross minimum wage paid in the Netherlands. Your employer must withhold taxes and social security contributions and give you a payroll stating the salary that you are paid and the taxes and social security contributions that you withhold. From 01.01.2019 the statutory gross monthly minimum wage is EUR 1615.80 for persons over 23 years of age. For people aged 15 to 22, the minimum wage is lower. You are also entitled to an 8% holiday allowance. The minimum wage is updated twice a year, on January 1st and July 1st.
If you work in the Netherlands through a temporary employment recruitment office, in most cases under a temporary employment collective agreement, you are entitled to a salary higher than the minimum. If you work extra hours or evenings, you are entitled to a 25% allowance and, at night, a 50% allowance on your salary.
 
Other important facts
 
Taxes
To work in the Netherlands, you need a social security number (the so-called SOFI number). If you work for a Dutch temporary recruitment office, the office can apply for your number with the tax office. If the bureau does not do this, you must apply to the tax office for a social security number. You can do this by phone in English: 0031- (0) 555385385.
If you work temporarily in the Netherlands, you may be entitled to a refund of your income tax. You can ask the tax office for the appropriate form. When filling out the form, you must provide your personal bank account number.
 
Cash sickness benefit
In the event of illness, in most cases the employer must continue to pay you the full amount of your salary. If you work for a temporary staffing bureau, you are paid 91% of your pay for illness. In the absence due to illness should to notify your employer before 10:00 am. If you work through a temporary recruitment office, you must notify the office and the company where you are hired that you will be absent due to illness.
 
Workplace safety
Your employer is obliged to inform you about the risks involved in your job. If necessary, he should provide you with personal protective equipment (such as a helmet or safety shoes) for free.
 
Housing
Find out who will pay for your housing in the Netherlands. If you have to take part of them, ask how much you will pay and for what. Agree in writing. If you are offered a home, it must be suitable for living. The board costs from 30 to 60 euros per week. If you are looking for self-catering accommodation in the Netherlands, the rent is up to € 400 per month, often higher. In larger cities, such as Amsterdam and Utrecht, the rent can be much higher.
If you have complaints about housing conditions, you can contact your landlord first. If he does not take action and if you continue to have complaints about the home, you can contact the municipality.
 
More information is available at
https://www.government.nl/topics/new-in-the-netherlands/documents/publications/2014/03/07/brochure-new-in-the-netherlands-bulgaars
where you can download the brochure in Bulgarian.
 
Assistance with questions or problems
 
General
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your work, you may contact a Dutch or Bulgarian trade union. Usually the condition is to be a member. Several Dutch trade unions have set up a service specifically designed for persons recruited through temporary employment agencies - the Stichting Naleving CAO Uitzendwezen. If you have questions about your rights or salary, you can send them in Dutch or English to:
 SNCU
Postbus 9438
3007 AK Rotterdam
Phone: 0180 642530
Website: www.sncu.nl
 
Labour Inspectorate
You can contact the Netherlands Labor Inspectorate directly to file complaints regarding minimum wage, safe and healthy working conditions and working hours.
For this purpose you can use the form in Bulgarian at www.arbeidsinspectie.nl (website of the Labor Inspectorate in the Netherlands).
 
You can send a letter or call in English:
Arbeidsinspectie
Postbus 820
3500 AV Utrecht
Phone: 0031 (0) 800 - 270 00 00
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
Form A1
You or your employer can apply for A1 in:
National Social Security Institute, 62-64 Alexander Stamboliyski Blvd., SOFIA 1303

 

 

 

 

 

 

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