Hiring Ukraine refugees?

In the Netherlands, as in other countries, there has been an influx of refugees from the crisis in Ukraine. Because of the shortage on the labour market, many companies indicate that they would like to employ Ukrainian refugees

Under the Labour Act for Aliens (WAV), employees from outside the EEA must, in principle, have a work permit (for periods shorter than three months) or a combined residence and work permit (GVVA, for longer periods). Since Ukraine is not part of the EEA, it was not possible for Ukrainians to work and/or live in the Netherlands without a residence or work permit until 1 April of this year.

Exemption and duty to report

However, the European Union launched the Temporary Protection Directive on 4 March 2022. As a result, refugees from Ukraine are granted special residence status in all EU countries for at least one year. Based on the Temporary Protection Directive, Ukrainian refugees have access to the labour market, although the Dutch employer still needed a work permit

As of 1 April, there is an exemption for Ukrainian refugees and the work permit is no longer a requirement. Refugees who reside lawfully in the Netherlands on the basis of the Temporary Protection Directive and have a Citizen Service Number (BSN) can be employed in the Netherlands. When a refugee registers with the municipality where he/she is (temporarily) residing, the residence status is established, and the refugee receives a BSN. The only thing the employer has to do to employ a Ukrainian refugee is to report this to the UWV. This must be done at least two working days before the start of the employment. If the obligation to report is not complied with, the employer runs the risk of a fine pursuant to the WAV

Through the following link you can access the form with which the Ukrainian employee can be registered with the UWV: Vrijstelling werkvergunning vluchtelingen uit Oekraïne |

Retroactivity during transition period

A so-called transitional period applies to this arrangement. Employers who already employed Ukrainian refugees as of 4 March 2022 have until 15 April 2022 to report the employment to the UWV.

Scope of the exemption

The exemption applies to persons with Ukrainian nationality who resided in Ukraine on 23 February 2022, fled Ukraine on or after 27 November 2021 or if they can prove that they resided in the Netherlands before 27 November 2021. The exemption also applies to stateless persons or third country nationals who had a valid residence permit or protection in Ukraine on 23 February 2022. Family members (spouses, minor unmarried children, and other close relatives) of the above-mentioned persons are also eligible for the exemption.

Do you have any questions regarding the employment of Ukrainian refugees? Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Christine Daniels

Published On: 1 April 2022

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