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Macro-economics and how it impacts on HR – Netherlands

Written by
Bronsgeest Deur Advocaten, leading law firm in the Netherlands specialised in HR and employment law.
Many businesses want to employ refugees arriving from Ukraine and the law has been relaxed to enable this. Meanwhile, Dutch companies are rapidly withdrawing from Russia.


In the Netherlands, just as in other countries, there has been an influx of refugees from the crisis in Ukraine. There is a tightness in the labour market and therefore companies have been indicating that they would like to employ these refugees. Based on the law, refugees would need a work permit before being able to be employed. However, as of 1 April 2022, this requirement no longer exists. Refugees who lawfully reside in the Netherlands based on the EU’s temporary protection directive and have a citizen’s service number can be employed in the Netherlands. 

The only thing the employer has to do is to report this to the Employee Insurance Agency (‘UWV’). This needs to be done at least 2 working days before the employment starts. From 4 March 2022 a transition period applies, to the effect that employers who had already employ refugees as at 4 March 2022 have until 15 April 2022 to report the employment to the UWV.  

In addition, another major consequence of the crisis is that Dutch companies are withdrawing from Russia. For example, Heineken does not export to Russia anymore and has stopped its production in Russia. Shell has also withdrawn from Russia, just as Rabobank recently announced it would withdraw its activities from Russia. The question is what the consequences of these withdrawals will be for employees. Russian employees of Heineken, for example, will continue to be paid. Some Dutch employees who were seconded to Russia will now be required to return to the Netherlands. These employees also have the right to continued payment of wages and in principle need to be reinstated in a different function within the company. 

 Another result of the crisis is that energy prices and product prices have increased hugely and the inflation rate is also very high, raising a question about what can be expected with regard to wages. It is uncertain yet whether employers will bear the costs of these developments. 

Cathelijn Derks
Partner - Netherlands
Bronsgeest Deur Advocaten