Practical matters and organisation

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Legal matters and employment of a refugee

Depending on a refugee’s immigration status, you may need to consider specific issues as an employer. Some things apply to all refugees.

Employing an asylum seeker (without a residence permit)
An asylum seeker is someone who has left their country of origin to seek asylum in another country. When someone applies for asylum, they are asking to be recognised as a refugee. Not every asylum seeker is a refugee. During the asylum procedure, the Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst (IND) determines whether the asylum seeker qualifies as a refugee.

Asylum seekers may not work until they have obtained a work permit (TWV). You can apply for a TWV from the UWV, subject to certain conditions:

  • The asylum seeker must be 18 or above;
  • The asylum seeker must have a valid foreign nationals identity document (type W document);
  • The asylum application must have been pending for at least 6 months;
  • The wage must be on market terms, meaning that the wage is normal for the work that the employee will do with their level of knowledge and experience;

Asylum seekers may work up to 24 weeks (14 weeks for artists) during a 52-week period.

Asylum seekers do not need a work permit for voluntary work, but you must apply for a volunteer statement.

Employing an asylum permit holder
When an asylum seeker is recognised as a refugee by the IND and is allowed to stay in the Netherlands, they will receive a five-year temporary residence permit. A refugee with a residence permit is referred to as an “asylum permit holder”.

There is nothing extra you need to arrange, but keep the following in mind:

  • You must ask the employee for a valid foreign nationals identity document with a residence permit
  • You must keep an eye on the residence permit’s end date. When a refugee receives a new residence permit, the employer must check it again. The asylum seeker is allowed to work during the application for the residence permit.

Employing a Ukrainian refugee
Ukrainian refugees are free to work in the Netherlands. However, the employer must file a report with the UWV two days before the start of employment.

Bank account and citizen service number (BSN)
A job seeker’s profile on RefugeeWork indicates whether someone has a BSN and bank account number. It is a good idea to check this when hiring someone, as these are required to file online tax returns and pay wages.

Contributions (e.g., payroll taxes, pension and employer insurance) are accrued for each employee according to the employment contract, regardless of nationality or immigration status. Refugees have the same arrangements as other employees.

Schemes and grants

In principle, employing a refugee is no different than employing a Dutch citizen. There are few differences in terms of rights and obligations. There may be additional costs for special counselling, a longer training period, or courses.

The additional costs are often dwarfed by what a refugee can offer your organisation. Many employers cite examples of fulfilment, corporate social responsibility, and connecting better with certain customer groups. Hiring a refugee also means making better use of the labour market, improving business operations, strengthening HR policies and increasing product innovation.

There are also various schemes and grants for employers who hire refugees. These may be organised nationally or locally.

National tax scheme

  • Incentive allowance for employers employing low-income workers (LIV)
  • Incentive allowance for employers employing low-income youth (youth LIV)
  • Wage cost benefit (LKV)

If you are entitled to one of the national tax schemes as an employer, the UWV will send a provisional calculation stating which employees meet the requirements for a scheme and what amount is involved. The Belastingdienst pays out the amount. For more information on these schemes, visit

Municipal schemes

  • Work with retention of benefit (reduced or no wage payments)
  • Temporary wage cost subsidy
  • Incentive bonuses
  • Contribution towards additional costs (for guidance, among other things)

These schemes vary by municipality. For more information, please contact the WerkgeversServicepunt (WSP) in the region where the refugee lives. To find the appropriate WSP, visit

Subsidy schemes and allowances for workers with disabilities

  • Subsidy for an in-house job coach
  • Subsidy for practical learning
  • Wage cost subsidy
  • Wage compensation in case of illness (no-risk policy)
  • Compensation for adjustments to business premises, among other things

For more information on these schemes, vsit