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‘Austere expat ruling damaging to the Netherlands as a knowledge country’

NETHERLANDS. Dutch universities, universities of applied sciences and research institutes are afraid that they may miss out on international talent as a result of restrictions on the so-called ‘expat subsidy’. They think that the Cabinet would do well to reconsider the measure.

Foreign employees in professions suffering from major shortages on the Dutch labour market should also be treated with leniency, according to university association VSNU, the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences, the VAWO trade union and other organisations in a letter to state secretary of Finance, Menno Snel.


At the moment, employees from abroad receive a tax advantage of 30 per cent for eight years. This makes Dutch universities, research institutes, universities of applied sciences and university hospitals more attractive to expats. One in three scientists at Dutch universities are from abroad, VSNU wrote last year, which comes down to approximately ten thousand scientists.

However, the Cabinet wants to economise on this ruling. From next year, the duration – without a transitional provision – will be reduced from eight to five years. This is very disappointing for the signatories. They are afraid that scientists from abroad will avoid the Netherlands in the future. “In particular in the higher scientific positions, universities can compete internationally because of the thirty per cent ruling. International top talent staying away will have immense impact on our scientific output,” the letter states.

Reputation damage

The organisations ask state secretary Snel to reconsider the measure. Should no other solution be possible, then there should at least be a transitional arrangement for expats who already live in the Netherlands. They most likely calculated on the tax advantage when they decided to move to the Netherlands and are now faced with an unpleasant surprise. This is bad for the reputation of the Netherlands as a country to settle in, the signatories warn.

The intended cuts have frustrated many expats: the petition ‘a deal is a deal’ by United Expats of the Netherlands has been signed more than 27 thousand times.

HOP, Steffi Weber







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