International Trade Scheme

As of July 1, 2017, the International Trade Scheme came into force. The International Trade Scheme aims to provide international business with the opportunity to temporarily send foreign workers to the Netherlands. Crucial is that the worker does not compete with the local labor supply of the Netherlands and the EU. An example of this where this is not the case is employees who are trained in operating new machines or who give training to employees of a customer abroad.


Companies wishing to qualify for the International Trade Scheme must first submit a request to the UWV (Dutch Labor Authority) for admission of a trajectory with related activities. When a trajectory is accepted by the UWV, the employer does not need to apply for a work permit (permission from the UWV which allows a foreign worker to work here) for foreign workers involved in the trajectory. In practice this means that the employer can move staff over here quicker and with less bureaucratic red tape.

For employees who come to Netherlands for more than 3 months, they must apply for a residence permit. The IND (Immigration Service) may, under the International Trade Regulations, grant a permanent residence permit for a limited period of time under the limitation of ‘paid employment’ if it has been shown that the employer’s trajectory has been admitted to the scheme and the employer has registered the employee with the UWV. The residence permit can be granted and extended for a maximum of 1 year.

The activities carried out under the International Trade Scheme can be of a different nature. Examples of activities which will be permitted under the International Trade Scheme are following training or training, attending (business) meetings or maintaining contacts or maintenance work on machinery. Activities relating to inspections, controls and certifications may also fall under the scope of the International Trade Scheme. It is important to show why it is necessary for the work in question to bring a foreign worker to the Netherlands. Because the scheme is concerned with trade contacts, it must in any case involve trajectories dealing with commercial companies.

This scheme has added value in addition to existing schemes because it offers both certainty and flexibility: certainty regarding the trajectory that is being approved by UWV and at the same time flexibility for individual labor because they need to be notified as soon as they are known to come to the Netherlands.

For questions regarding the International Trade Scheme feel free to contact one of our attorneys, email or by phone 0031206161487. We are happy to help in any way we can.