The Netherlands is one of those quirky, small countries that people don’t expect. Despite its geographic and population size, the Netherlands is one of the largest economies in the world. The Dutch achieved their place on the world-stage thanks to its deep history in trade, and for having one of the oldest open economies in the world. In more recent years, the Netherlands has managed to stay competitive by focusing on attracting and developing top talent to maintain a knowledge-based economy.
Between the financial support available for Dutch students and the access to some of the top Universities in Europe, the Netherlands is well-equipped develop highly skilled talent locally. Top international talent is still highly coveted in the Netherlands, and the Dutch landscape for international employees is highly attractive for a variety of reasons.
Here are the five ways the Netherlands attracts top talent from abroad.
High quality education in english
The Netherlands is home to some of the most prestigious Universities in Europe, and attract more than 100,000 international students (and growing) every year. Across the Netherlands, there are more than 2100 programmes in English for International talent to enroll.
Students who have graduated in the Netherlands tend to stay and work in the country for at least five years after their graduation. Thanks to this growing trend, the Netherlands is able to attract talent before most of them have even entered the job market.
Recent graduates who have achieved a degree from a Dutch university or Master degree from a top 200 international university are also eligible to work in the Netherlands for up to year with the orientation year visa. Those with this type of visa fall under the reduced salary criterion, which means that they can easily transition to the highly skilled migrant visa later as the requirements are slightly more relaxed.
Attractive visa schemes
Similar to the rest of Europe, and the world, the Netherlands enables businesses to apply for visas on behalf of their employees so that they may live and work in country. These procedures are relatively simple and often entail short processing times.
Comparatively, the visa scheme for Highly Skilled workers in the Netherlands is more attractive than other EU countries — such as Germany or Switzerland. Generally, employees may bring their spouse/partner and minor children (there are cases of bringing other family members) under their Highly Skilled Migrant visa to live in the Netherlands. However, these family members are allowed to enter and stay with the employee as a dependent. Therefore, their partners (who are often also highly educated themselves) are permitted to work freely in the Netherlands.
Likewise, the Netherlands offers an “Orientation year” visa scheme for international graduates of Dutch Universities (also applies to students graduating from an English programme) in order to retain these highly educated people.
High net income -30% ruling
One of the top reasons cited for expats to work in the Netherlands is the benefit of the 30% ruling. The 30% ruling enables employees to earn 30% of their gross salary tax-free for five years. This tax benefit is for EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA employees with specific expertise and who were recruited from abroad. Skilled foreign workers often cite this attractive financial scheme as one of the reasons for choosing the Netherlands to work in as opposed to any of the other European countries.
Start-up and scale-up hub
Having ranked third in the EU on 2019’s Global Innovation Index, the Netherlands is without a doubt an attractive centre of innovation and entrepreneurship. International talent coming to the Netherlands have the potential to thrive here due to its open business culture, multi-lingual workforce, digital infrastructure and R&D facilities.
Just like the highly skilled migrant visa scheme, the Netherlands attracts innovative and talented minds through their start-up year visa for non-EU/EEA professionals. This allows foreign entrepreneurs to pursue passion projects and to benefit from the Dutch start-up ecosystem.
High quality life
International talent seeking a better (or comparable) life in the Netherlands is one of the best top reasons highly skilled talent choose to work here. The exceptional quality of life and quirky Dutch culture creates a favourable environment for International talent seeking stability and/or adventure.
The country ranked highest on work-life balance on the OECD Better Life Index which measures the well-being of the 35 OECD populations. Additionally, they score above average in the quality of their jobs, housing, education, environment, social connections, personal security and civic engagement.