The purpose of the International Trade Scheme is to offer international businesses the opportunity to allow flexible foreign workers to come to the Netherlands temporarily to perform work. It is very important that the work does not compete with the labor supply from the Netherlands and the EU. This concerns, for example, employees who are trained in working with new machines or giving training to employees of a customer abroad of the Dutch company.

Companies that want to be eligible for the International Trade Regulations must first submit a request to the UWV (Dutch labor market authority) for permission for a specific program with associated activities. The UWV assesses whether the program meets the criteria as laid down in the Foreign Nationals Employment Act (WAV). Once a program has been approved, the employer no longer has to apply for a work permit s(TWV) for foreign employees who are involved in this program. It is sufficient for the employer to register the employees with the UWV.

Employees who come to the Netherlands for work for more than 3 months must apply for a residence permit. Under the International Trade Regulations, the IND can grant a regular residence permit for a fixed period under the restriction ‘paid employment’, if it is demonstrated that the employer’s route 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.


In order to qualify for the International Trade Regulation, there must be a so-called program in the context of international trade, services and cooperation. A program should be seen as a time-limited framework within which the activities for which the persons come to the Netherlands take place. In the assessment for admission of the program, among other things, the nature of the program, the nature of the work, the duration of the program, the value of the goods and services to be delivered or delivered and the value of the trajectory are taken into account. This may include a (cooperation) project, a partnership, an agreement for the supply of goods or services or a training. The director-majority shareholder who comes to the Netherlands for business activities in connection with his company in the Netherlands will also be able to fall under the scheme.

The activities that are carried out within such a program can be of a diverse nature. The exemptions that are regulated for international trade in the current Decree on Implementation of the Aliens Employment Act are in any case activities that fall within the regulation, as long as they take place in the context of this program. Following training courses or education, holding meetings or maintaining contacts are activities that can fall under the International Trade Regulations. Activities relating to inspections, checks and certifications may also fall under the scope of the International Trade Regulation.

Activities for which a work permit would be obtained in an employment procedure can in any case be regarded as non-competitive. Since it concerns commercial contacts, it must in any case concern processes in which commercial companies are involved.

Benefits of this scheme

It is interesting that the employer is given options under the International Trade Regulation. If an employee falls outside the scope of the ICT Directive, but there is an intra-corporate transfer, the new scheme will coexist with the existing schemes so that employers can choose for themselves which procedure they wish to use. It also happens that the highly skilled migrant scheme cannot be used because either the employer is not a recognized sponsor or because the employee cannot meet the salary requirements. In some cases, the international trade regulation can provide a solution.

This scheme has added value in addition to the existing schemes because it offers both certainty and flexibility: certainty with regard to the program that is approved by UWV and at the same time flexibility for individual workers because they only need to be reported as soon as it is known that they are coming to the Netherlands.

After registration and approval of the relevant program, including associated activities, it is no longer necessary to apply for a work permit for people to work, but a notification to UWV is sufficient.

The employer can register the program for a period of three years. If the program continues after three years, a new application for a three-year program can be filed. A decision period of five weeks also applies to the decision on a change.

What can Arslan|Lit Attorney do for you?

To start with, our firm can assist your company with the application for admission to the international trade regulation program. We have already successfully assisted several companies with this. After approval, we can take care of the residence applications of your employees and their family members. Or if it concerns short visits, our office can provide timely notifications to the UWV of the arrival of the employees. Furthermore, we can facilitate and support in all employment law related matters.

Our job is not only to unburden you, but above all to prevent your company from having to deal with very high administrative fines.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office. You can call us, 020 223 2466, or send us an email, We are happy to help! You can also reach us through our social media channels which you can find at the bottom of this page.