A comprehensive guide for refugees from Ukraine

Ukrainians protected under the EU Temporary Protection Directive (Richtlijn Tijdelijke Bescherming) 2001/55/EC will be permitted to work in the Netherlands as of April 1, 2022. For the time being, this only applies to Ukrainian nationals who can establish their nationality with an identification document until May 31, 2022. Ukrainian nationals holding a valid identification document will be able to work in the Netherlands without the need of having a valid work permit. Ukrainian nationals will then have to register with the municipality where they are currently residing in the Key Register of Persons (BRP).

In addition to Ukrainian nationals, this group will expanded to stateless persons and nationals of third countries who can show that they were granted international or national protection in Ukraine, or that they legally resided in Ukraine before February 24, 2022, on the basis of a valid permanent residence permit issued in accordance with Ukrainian law, and that they cannot be returned to their home country.

Work procedure for Ukrainian citizens

Due to the significant number of refugees from Ukraine and the fact that these people do not always have the appropriate credentials to identify whether or not they belong to the category of temporary protected persons, it has been decided that the exemption will first apply to Ukrainian citizens. This applies to Ukrainians who can verify their nationality with an identifying certificate.

Because not every refugee has a paperwork from the IND indicating that they are residing under the EU Temporary Protection Directive, the exemption applies to all Ukrainians until May 30, 2022, if they can verify their nationality with a document like as a passport.

Paid employment

Working in the Netherlands on the basis of an employment contract is a necessity for receiving the exemption.  This implies that clients who hire self-employed people to work for them are not eligible for the exemption. Internships are permitted under the terms of an internship agreement, as well as volunteer work for which the organization files for an exemption declaration for the type of employment.

Therefore, the waiver does not apply to self-employed persons. Currently, a self-employed person can apply for a residence permit self-employed person from the IND, or the client can apply for a work permit.

Citizen Service Number (BSN) / Non-residents Records Database (RNI)

A BSN/RNI is necessary in order to work in the Netherlands. It can be obtained by Ukrainian nationals who registered at the municipality. Without these documents, the employers cannot let you work because they cannot verify your credentials. As a result, during the transitional time, foreign nationals with Ukrainian nationality who can verify this with an identification certificate will be free from the work permit requirement. To learn more about how to obtain a BSN number and what it is used for, please visit our BSN guide.

After May 31, 2022, the right to work must be established by having a valid temporary residence visa. The transitional legislation term, which runs through May 31, 2022, might be extended by ministerial regulation for up to three months if required due to the execution of these agreements’ provisions.

Obligation on the employer to report to the authorities

Employing a foreign citizen on the basis of the exemption requires the employer to notify the UWV at least two days before the start of the job. The goal is to be able to recognize and mitigate the risks of abuses like underpayment and bad working conditions.

Up to and including April 15, 2022, there is a transition period during which the employer is not required to report to the UWV two days before the start of employment. After April 15, Ukrainian employees must register with the UWV at least two working days before starting work.

The Foreign Nationals Employment Act (in Dutch: Wet arbeid vreemdelingen or Wav) imposes a fine for breaking this rule.

Asylum seeker status

Refugees from Ukraine can already use services such as living allowance, education, and job after registering with the municipality. They do not have to wait for their temporary protected status to be confirmed formally. People with protected status from Ukraine have the same rights as asylum applicants in the regular asylum procedure. There are however some distinctions. For example, unlike other asylum seekers, they are allowed to work and are assisted and accommodated by municipalities rather than the COA because of their temporary protection status.

Ukrainian nationals holding a temporary protected status sticker may stay in the Netherlands. They are allowed to remain in the Netherlands for the length of the protection measure, which is now one year until March 4, 2023. Three years is the maximum time period.

During the IND procedure, the refugee signs an asylum claim for residency in the Netherlands. Form (M35-H) is also used for this purpose, which is required to properly register them in the IND system. The asylum procedure, which is generally initiated next, is put on hold. When the temporary protective measure is lifted, the protected status expires. For individuals who choose to remain in the Netherlands, the asylum procedure is still in progress.

The refugee also signs an antecedents certificate, in which they state whether or not they have ever been convicted of a crime. Furthermore, the IND searches the Document Information System for Civil Status (DISCS) database to
see if the refugee poses a threat to public order and national security.