According to the Dutch government, more than 60,000 refugees from Ukraine are currently registered in the Netherlands. This number is expected to rise further in the coming period. In this article, we discuss the possibility for employers to employ refugees from Ukraine in the Netherlands.

Employees from within the European Union, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland are allowed to work in the Netherlands without a work permit. Workers outside this area normally require a work permit. Ukraine is currently not (yet) a member state of the European Union. Asylum seekers are normally subject to strict conditions to work in the Netherlands.

Refugees from Ukraine can receive temporary protection in the Netherlands through the European Union’s Temporary Protection Directive (the “Directive”). Among other things, this Directive gives the right to reception and medical care in the Netherlands. Refugees from Ukraine are covered by this Directive if:

  • the refugee has Ukrainian nationality and: (1) travelled from Ukraine after 26 November 2021 or (2) travelled from Ukraine before 27 November 2021 and has already applied for a residence permit or asylum in the Netherlands;
  • the refugee does not have Ukrainian nationality, but: (1) had a valid Ukrainian residence permit on 23 February or (2) was recognised as a refugee by Ukraine on 23 February 2022.
  • the refugee was living in Ukraine as a family member of a covered person. The refugee is: (1) a partner in a long-term relationship, (2) a child under 18 years of age, (3) a family member who lived together with the seen who is (largely) dependent on this family.Anyone covered is allowed to work in the Netherlands without a work permit. This means that an employer does not have to apply for a work permit for these refugees to employ them. This exemption from the work permit only applies to employees working as employees and is valid from 1 April 2022 to 4 March 2023. An employer must therefore sign an employment contract with the refugee. Also, anyone covered may do voluntary work without a work permit. The work permit exemption does not apply to refugees from Ukraine who want to work as self-employed persons.

Employers who hire a refugee from Ukraine must notify the UWV. The employee can start working 2 working days after the notification is made. The form employers should use to make the notifications can be found here. To work, a refugee from Ukraine needs the following:

  • a Citizen Service Number (BSN). This can be obtained when registering with the municipality.
  • A proof of residence. Until 1 September 2022, a proof of residence is not required. Refugees need a Ukrainian passport/identity card or a certificate from the Ukrainian embassy.
  • Furthermore, it is important that workers from Ukraine have the same rights as Dutch workers. These include the right to holidays, breaks, a safe workplace and the minimum wage. If there is a collective agreement, the agreements in this collective agreement also apply to refugees from Ukraine.