Are asylum seekers and status holders allowed to intern or perform a work experience placement?

Asylum seekers are allowed to intern if their procedure has been running for at least six months. When your procedure has not started yet and during the first six months you are not allowed to intern. Status holders have the same rights regarding volunteer work, internships and work as Dutch citizens. However, to avoid issues with your ‘uitkering’ you should always discuss potential volunteer work, internships and work with your client manager at your municipality (gemeente).

Prerequisites for an internship or work experience placement are:

  • an internship plan;
  • support and evaluation.
  • Moreover, it is essential for intern activities to actually be carried out, and for the internship not to be a replacement of activities normally carried out by an employee. If the intern activities do not differentiate from regular activities sufficiently, the statutory minimum wage has to be paid.

Internship vocational education

For asylum seekers an employer does not have to request a permit if the asylum seeker is employed in the context of vocational education, on the basis of a vocational training contract or in the context of higher education on the basis of an internship contract.

Internship young aliens

Employers are also exempt from a work permit for young aliens (with or without a residence permit) who do an obligatory internship in the context of their education. Prerequisites are the internship being essential for the education programme, the student having started the education programme before their eighteenth birthday and the internship being unsalaried (aside from travel allowances). The above applies to the education programmes mentioned in article 1 f of the Regulation implementing the Aliens Employment Act. Among those is the school-based pathway of mbo (BOL), practical training, the training on the job courses and entrance training available during vmbo secondary education and the graduation profiles labour market and further education of secondary special needs education.

Sources and more information:

Vluchtelingen en werk. Wat mag wel en wat mag niet? –

Vluchteling/asielzoeker: in dienst, stage of vrijwilligerswerk