Work permit policy rules tightened

The Wet arbeid vreemdelingen BES (Wav BES) is intended to protect the local labor market and to prevent unfair competition between businesses and with regards to employment conditions. As of April 1st, the policy rules for the work permit (TWV) have been tightened. The tighter policy rules aim to ensure clarity and consistency in policy implementation, but also serve to comply with further rules when exercising the powers pursuant to the Wav BES and the Besluit uitvoering Wet arbeid vreemdelingen BES (BuWavBES).


When assessing an application for a work permit, the main criterion is whether there is local demand for the vacancy, the so-called labor market test. In practice, this means that the department TWV will monitor more strictly if the employer has made sufficient effort to find local manpower. The department will also check whether the vacancy has been reported to the Public Entity. Considering that a work permit for employees outside the public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will only be issued if no local supply is available, local manpower will get an opportunity to work and to meet their own needs.


Other requirement for employers specified in the tightened policy rules are that the salary must be competitive and at least the minimum wage must be paid to the foreign employee. The employer also has to arrange housing. In addition, the employee must also have a residence permit and the foreign employee must be between 18 and 45 years old.


Furthermore, it is important that employers start the work permit application procedure on  time; if they want to obtain a work permit on time, it is necessary to start in advance, 3 to 4 months before the starting date of the employment or before the expiry date of the work permit. The foreign employee is allowed to work only if the permit has been granted. He is not allowed to work during the application process.


During the information meetings on Saba and St. Eustatius and Bonaire, the employers received the opportunity to gather information and understand the procedure and the criteria for obtaining a work permit. The participants received a flowchart illustrating schematically the work permit application procedure and a diagram showing the main points when a work permit is required or not and what requirements must be met in order to obtain a TWV. Visit for more information.