I nearly had a permit to work legally in The Netherlands indeed, I had a work permit, but was not able to use it.
I'd worked at a bakery in Nijmegen for a while until March of '04. After a brief return to Ireland, I went back to Nijmegen and got my job back at the bakery, working a few hours cash in hand.
My first encounter with official Netherlands was in Amsterdam back in 2000.
I don't know if I was close to getting a tax number and blew it, or if that nearness was only an illusion....
On the occasion of my return, the owner suggested an idea: that he might need a full-time morning baker come autumn, and that it could be a chance for me to apply for legal resident status.
In May, we began a series of interactions with CWI, the national employment agency. They required A_ to seek a candidate from within the European Union, so my chances hinged upon the demonstration that I was the most-properly qualified.
It was a long, slow process of mostly waiting. A_ posted the requisite advertisements in local and international venues. He had to respond to all applicants, of course, and interview several, and explain to CWI why they were less-qualified. They weren't, of course not all of them. A_ was going through the process in a way that would favor me.
In September of 2004, we received a permit sort of. The stipulations requiring A_ to continue seeking a qualified European Union resident were strong, and the duration of the permit was only a half-year. The risk to A_ of paying to train me was too great in such uncertain circumstances.
I was angry at first, but of course I understood better later.