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Ambassadors, consuls and staff with AD or AC status who are neither Dutch nationals nor permanent residents are entitled to employ a private servant. The private servant’s stay in the Netherlands is based on employment with their employer . In principle the Ministry of Foreign Affairs only facilitates the admission and residence of private servants themselves. It does not permit members of their families (spouses and children) to reside in the Netherlands.
Scope for employing private servants
Persons who are not Dutch nationals or permanent residents and who have been accorded the privileges and immunities of heads of mission on the basis of the Vienna Convention are permitted to employ a maximum of five private servants.
Persons who are not Dutch nationals or permanent residents with AD or AC status are permitted to employ one private servants.
No other staff members of diplomatic missions are allowed to employ a private servant. The only exception to this rule is a staff member with a disabled spouse or disabled child forming part of the household (a medical certificate issued by a Dutch physician has to be submitted in these cases; admission of the private servant is at the Ministry’s discretion).
Employment permit for private servants
Employers of private servants are exempted from the requirement to obtain an employment permit for the number of private servants that they are entitled to employ.
Tax status of private servants
Private servants employed by persons who have been granted the privileges and immunities of diplomatic staff (AD status) are exempted from dues and taxes on their earnings from employment, provided that they are neither Dutch nationals nor permanently resident in the Netherlands. After ten years’ legal stay in the Netherlands, however, the Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) will consider them to be permanent residents.
Private servants employed by persons who have been granted the privileges and immunities of the administrative/technical staff of an international organisation (BD status) are not exempted from any duties or taxes.
Social security status of private servants
Private servants and their employers are obliged by law to pay all the relevant Dutch social insurance contributions.
Private servants and their employers are allowed to be covered by the social security regulations of their home state or a third state , or of the diplomatic mission/consular post. In the latter case, a statement from the international organisation certifying that the private servant is covered by its social security system is obligatory. Consequently, private servants and their employers are exempted from Dutch social insurance contributions.
Requirements governing private servants
Admission of private servants
Before a private servant may enter the Netherlands from a country whose nationals are required to obtain a visa in order to visit the Netherlands, they must apply to the Dutch diplomatic or consular mission for a visa. Before the application is submitted, the international organisation must report the individual’s appointment to the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by means of a Note Verbale.
The following documents must also be submitted:
A copy of the full-time contract of employment, signed by the employer and employee, which at the very least regulates the working hours (40 hours per week), salary and leave (minimum 20 days’ annual leave) of the individual concerned. In accordance with Dutch employment legislation, private servants must earn at least the minimum wage and 8% holiday pay.
A statement in which the employer guarantees:
to pay all costs that may arise during the period in which the private servant resides in the Netherlands plus any repatriation costs.
If applicable, a statement from the diplomatic mission/consular post certifying that the private servant is covered by its social security system (see ‘social security status of private servants’).
The minimum wage is set every six months by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (for the latest figure, please consult the website of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment at www.minszw.nl ). If the employee receives remuneration in kind as part of his/her salary, the maximum amount of remuneration in kind is 30% of the gross minimum wage. This should be mentioned in the contract.
The Dutch mission abroad will issue the visa once a positive decision on the application has been given. The person concerned can then travel to the Netherlands. For more information see the Protocol Guide, Addendum I, Category III.
NB: Servants themselves must apply for the visa at the Dutch mission in their countries of origin or habitual residence.
Even if the private servant comes from a country whose nationals are not subject to visa/authorisation for temporary stay requirements, the above documents must be submitted with the Note Verbale. After a positive decision by the Protocol Department, the person can come to work in the Netherlands as a private servant.
The private servant must be registered with the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within eight days of his/her arrival in the Netherlands. A health insurance policy covering medical expenses in the Netherlands is required.
Private servants who fall under the Dutch social security system are required by law to take out a health insurance policy .
Private servants not insured in the Netherlands should either participate in the collective insurance scheme of the diplomatic mission/consular post or take out a private health insurance policy.
Mandatory provisions of Dutch employment legislation
Employers and employees may opt for the applicability of a foreign legal system as the basis of an employment contract. However, even if a foreign legal system is opted for, Dutch employment legislation contains mandatory provisions that may never be derogated from. These mandatory provisions should therefore always be respected by the employer and employee.
The mandatory provisions of Dutch employment legislation include the following:
employees must earn at least the minimum wage and 8% holiday pay according to Dutch legislation (for the latest update on the minimum wage, please consult the website of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment at www.minszw.nl ). As of 1 July 2009, the minimum wage is €1,398.60 per month;
prohibition on terminating an employment contract during sickness or pregnancy of the employee;
timely payment of salary;
equal treatment of the sexes;
paid leave (minimum of 20 days’ leave per year).
Duration of the contract
The private servant must leave the Netherlands in the following circumstances:
if their employer leaves or if the contract between the employer and the private servant expires or is terminated;
if the employer ceases to be a staff member of a diplomatic mission/consular post or fails to comply in some other way with the conditions subject to which he/she may employ a private servant.
However, the private servant does not have to leave the Netherlands if he/she finds a new privileged employer working for a diplomatic mission/consular post, and there is no time gap between the two jobs. The new employer must then resubmit the documents listed above.
Private servants not permanently resident in the Netherlands may apply for a residence permit at the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) after a ten-year stay in the Netherlands. The period of ten years concerns the whole period a private servant resides (on the basis of consecutive contracts) in the Netherlands, provided they are employed by a staff member of a diplomatic mission/consular post. The conclusion of a new employment contract with either the present employer or another employer does not mean that a new ten-year period begins.
The validity of the identity card of a private servant is linked to the validity of the employer’s identity card, and will be issued for a maximum period of two years, unless the contract has a shorter duration or is terminated prematurely.
The identity card issued to private servants employed by an AD staff member bears the code PD.
The identity card issued to private servants employed by a AC staff member bears the code PC.
No identity cards will be provided for private servants recruited in the Netherlands.