Everything you need to know about working in the Netherlands as a non-Dutch student

The Netherlands is the ideal student destination – affordable education, high-quality teaching, and ample opportunities for self-development. While accessible, it is not free, so you will likely have to think about your financing options as you’re studying in the Netherlands. Many students like to take up part-time jobs, to cover the costs, or enjoy some pocket money – it’s a great way to stay afloat, while not impacting your studies. As a non-Dutch student, it’s the perfect way to integrate yourself into the culture and adapt quickly to your environment – but there are some caveats. You will find that, while most of the rules apply all the same as they do for Dutch natives, there are some essential things to take into consideration. Here’s what you need to know when you’re planning to work in the Netherlands as an ex-pat.

First of all, before even considering finding a job in the Netherlands, figure out which set of the rules apply. If you’re an EU/EEA native (excepting Croatia), there’s a different set of regulations for other ex-pats. Thanks to the working agreements and international partnerships in place, it’s simpler for you to work in the Netherlands as an international student.

If you’re not from the EU/EEA, you’ll likely need a work permit, unless you’re looking to do an internship as part of the studies, in which case the process is more straightforward. If you’re looking to do a relevant internship, there must be an internship agreement between you, your employer, and your university.

A work permit for international students in the Netherlands is required to be legally employed for anything besides an internship. It typically allows for a maximum of 16 working hours per week, with full-time work being available only during the summer. You can’t do both a part-time job and work during the summer; you have to choose one when applying for the working permit in the Netherlands every year.

On the other hand, regardless of your country of origin, you’ll need to think about insurance. EU Health Insurance, private healthcare insurance, or any other type other than the Dutch public health insurance won’t work for that purpose and may result in a fail. When choosing your insurance plan, keep in mind that public insurance is typically the more expensive option. It’s best to plan to switch to the public health insurance during the months you’ll be working, and change back to a private one when you’re not.

Income tax and social security tax is also something you’ll have to consider. You’ll have to pay a percentage of your income to the state, for any money you earn during your studies.

One good thing to know is that Dutch isn’t always required for your employment, even though it’s an advantage. More and more workplaces nowadays are looking for students with a solid grasp of the English language. There’s a variety of international companies and startups geared specifically to bright, young English-speakers.

The trick is knowing where to look, to save yourself the trouble of browsing endlessly through jobs that have Dutch as a mandatory language option. Some sites are explicitly designed for ex-pat jobs in the Netherlands, to ease your search! Perseverance is critical to find the perfect student job to take your student experience to the next level.

Ultimately, it’s a decision each student should make on their own, depending on their study program and free time. If you find you have the time and energy required, there are strong incentives to look for a part-time job.

Working a part-time job presents some challenges, but if you’re looking to save money as a student, there’s no better option available. Besides being helpful to your financial situation, it is also a great way to show your capabilities to future employers, securing yourself a more prosperous future.

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