Illegal employment of aliens

Illegal employment of aliens

The illegal employment aliens is penalized by a fine,  a so-called WAV fine (referring to the legislation on which the fine is based, The Aliens Labor Act). This may be imposed on the employer if the employee does not have free access to the labor market or does not have a work permit.

Illegal employment of aliens means employing an alien who is not in a possession of a residence status which allows him or her to work. The mere fact that the person has a residence permit is not enough. The permit he or she has needs need to explicitly grant permission to work. This is usually recognizable by the following indication on the residence card: arbeid vrij toegestaan, twv niet vereist.

An offender who is a professional or business pays € 12.000 per violation. By ruling of October 7th 2025 the Dutch supreme court ruled that the hight if the fine is unreasonably high. The supreme court has therefor ruled that the fine should be reduced to the level of 2012 which is €8.000.

If the offender is a private individual, the penalty is € 6.000 per violation. Important to know is that the SZW (Dutch Labor Inspection) applies the principal of the so-called chain liability. This means that if a subcontractor is employing people illegally, the contractor may be fined for the full amount as well if it has not done everything possible to prevent the violation.

If an employer receives a WAV fine for employing illegal aliens, it can also be excluded as an approved sponsor for the knowledge migrant scheme for a period of five years For the employer who is already authorized as an approved sponsor a WAV fine may result in the loss of this status.

Onder certain circumstance it is possible to mitigate the fine. Amongst the other the degree of culpability of the offender is taken into account.

If you have been fined and want to appeal, or want to know how to avoid such a penalty, please contact one of our lawyers, telephone (020-6161487) or email (


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