Can you work while studying in the Netherlands?

Student Ambassador Nadhila from Indonesia has been working as at Saxion's international office next to her studies. In this blog she shares her experiences with working in Holland as a non-EU student.

Posted by Nadhila Savira - Student Ambassador - Saxion University of Applied Sciences at Dec 09, 2018 08:40 PM

Can you work while studying in the Netherlands? This is a question you need not to ask to other people, but to yourself.

Can you work while studying? Do you have good time-management skills? Do you have the expertise to do the work you want to do? If you want to do simple jobs in the HoReCa field, do you have the patience for it?

If your motivation ticks all the boxes, here is something you need to acquaint yourself with: the Dutch labour law. This is summed up in a well-written article on this page. Stay tune on this page to hear my experience so that you know what to look out for in the process of getting a job!

Being a student in Saxion University of Applied Sciences, I managed to land my first job ever at Saxion’s International Office. As an international student, I had two options. Work full-time during summer for two months or work 16 hours a week throughout the year. I could only choose one, based on the Dutch labour law in the page that I linked above.

What did I choose and how did I come to that decision?

Since I knew that for the rest of the year because of an internship, I would not be able to work for Saxion for 16 hours a week, I chose to work for them during summer, for 40 hours a week. With this comes the need of a work permit, basic health insurance, and work contract.

I am now doing an internship at Keenondots, a cloud automation company, and I do work related to my study. I work 40 hours a week and get a fixed (internship standard) salary per month. My school has a minimum requirement of 800 hours worked on an internship, so I will work over the course of 5 months. This also requires basic health insurance, internship contract, but not a work permit.

As 2018 is ending right before our eyes, I've been making plans for next year: what I will do with my study and what I can do next to it. After my internship ends by 1st February 2019, I will do a minor which includes one class and a big project that I can do remotely. Seeing this, there is a chance of doing a part-time job for one day a week.

I contacted Saxion to see if they need someone in the International Office, and we agreed that I will be working 16 hours a week for them through-out the year. I already have a work permit to work for them from my earlier job, so there's no need to apply for that anymore. What I need is to stay on my basic health insurance and obtain a work contract with them.

Now, what happens if you don't keep an eye out for having work contract, work permit, and basic health insurance?

Without a work permit, no work contract can be generated. So essentially, the work would be illegal, and the employer is subject to fines from the Dutch Labour Inspectorate (Inspectie SZW). While this law doesn't have any consequences for the illegal employee, you are still subject to:

  • unfair salary,
  • missing out on employee benefits such as health-care allowance (Zorgtoeslag), pension funds, and vacation bonuses,
  • risk of being fired immediately once the illegal work is found out, with no obligation of your employee to pay you anything.

So, make sure you acknowledge the rules and laws surrounding your employment while being a student in the Netherlands! Nobody wants to be taken advantage of, be certain that you aren't!

Posted by Nadhila Savira - Student Ambassador - Saxion University of Applied Sciences at Dec 09, 2018 08:40 PM