With a number of countries, The Netherlands has bilateral Memoranda of Understanding containing a clause on Working Holiday Programmes (“WHP”). Under a WHP, people under 31 years of age can spend a year in the Netherlands to experience the culture and society. ‘Incidental’ work activity is allowed, to finance the cost of staying in the Netherlands. Though, what ‘incidental’ work activity actually entailed was not previously defined in detail.

As per October 1, 2018, ‘incidental’ work activity is defined as working for one employer for a maximum of 12 consecutive weeks. The number of hours within these weeks is not constrained. After these 12 weeks,  the employee can continue to work for another employer for another 12 weeks and so on.

The measure aims to prevent employers from getting employees to the Netherlands for the sole purpose of employment and thus circumventing the standard combined work-residence permit application process or highly skilled migrant procedure.