I am an EU citizen intending to move to the Netherlands. I work remotely for an Australian company and I am currently resident in South Africa.

I am moving to the Netherlands with my non-EU spouse, for whom we need to apply for a residence permit. The IND states that the EU citizen "carries out real and actual work or has sufficient means to support you" with regards to the residence permit application.

It is not stated what is needed in terms of proof of employment.

I will have:

  1. A contract of employment
  2. Pay slips
  3. A letter from management starting that they support my move to the Netherlands
  4. South African bank statement indicating regular salary payments

I intend to open a bank account in the Netherlands to receive my salary, but this might not be open at the time of the residence permit application.

My question: what documentation is typically required by the Dutch government in the case where you work remotely for a foreign company to satisfy this requirement?


I received a reply from the IND regarding my question - it states that since I don’t work for a Dutch employer, I will be considered to be economically inactive in the Netherlands, and that I have to prove that I have sufficient means of existence for myself and my family members to not have to depend on public resources.

I find the term "economically inactive" a strange term, I would have thought that living in a country and paying income tax would mean that you are considered economically active.

  • What is your question?
    – phoog
    Oct 20, 2017 at 9:35
  • I have updated the question - I want to know what documentation is typically required by the Dutch government in the case where you work remotely for a foreign company to satisfy this requirement?
    – Will777
    Oct 20, 2017 at 11:25
  • 1
    It's a good question. Immigration law in most countries hasn't generally kept up with the realities of modern telecommuting, but it seems that what you describe ought to be allowed under EU law. It might be simpler if you set up a Dutch company, however. And the obligatory note: EU freedom of movement rights generally would not apply to you in the Netherlands if you are a Dutch citizen.
    – phoog
    Oct 20, 2017 at 17:33
  • Phoog, thank you for the comment. I am hoping that someone in a similar situation could shed light on the requirements
    – Will777
    Oct 23, 2017 at 3:52
  • No direct experience with this either but the requirement is work or sufficient financial means. You don't need both. And it's not obvious to me that employment in South Africa is covered by the freedom of movement for workers. So I would focus on the financial means part.
    – Gala
    Oct 23, 2017 at 22:35

1 Answer 1


EU freedom of movement for workers dates back to the 1957 treaty of Rome and was originally understood as one of the components of the single market. Basically, it is about making it as easy for employers to recruit workers and for workers to switch employers within the EU as it is within a single country. It only incidentally creates rights for EU citizens and isn't a right to live everywhere provided you have work.

But Australia is not part of the single market and working for an Australian company isn't a transaction between an EU citizen and an EU employer and doesn't contribute directly to the Dutch (or EU) economy so it makes sense for the IND not to consider you as a “worker” in the EU sense.

Freedom of movement was later extended to other categories of EU citizens but with an additional requirement, namely “not to become a burden on the social assistance system of the host Member State”. That's what the treaty calls “economically non-active” persons. That's also why the IND wrote “carries out real and actual work or has sufficient means to support you”.

The easiest way to get your spouse's residence card sorted would therefore be to establish you have sufficient income and health insurance. If you fulfil those requirements, your employment situation is irrelevant. I don't know what the exact documentary requirements are but not having a Dutch bank account should not in principle be a problem.

Once you established your (and your spouse's) right to reside in the Netherlands on that basis, your spouse is also allowed to take up employment or become self-employed as they wish. And if you have significant income (from whatever sources), you might have to pay income tax in the country where you reside, irrespective of whether you are economically active in that country or not.

  • Gala, this makes a lot of sense - thank you for elaborating on the whole idea of freedom of movement. I think, in the end, this will also become a tax question, as I will have to register for and pay tax in the Netherlands. This seems like a very open-ended question at the moment specifically with regards to the documentation required and it does seem that this might differ on a case by case basis. I am accepting your answer and will post additional information on my case when I have it
    – Will777
    Oct 25, 2017 at 3:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.