IT professional from Greece
It was December 2013 when I moved with my family to the Netherlands. I was headhunted by an agency on behalf of the largest telecommunication company in NL. Even with hundreds of IT professionals, still they had the urgent need for someone to resolve their critical and chronic performance issues. I am glad that I was able to use my IT skills (master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering, twenty years’ experience etc.) to provide the proper solutions. I have been working in the Netherlands ever since.
The 30% ruling played a significant role in our decision to move to the NL, instead of the UK for example, from where I also had attractive offers and speak the language. Till now, we felt that we made the right choice, even if we are dependent solely on my income. My wife’s skillset requires knowledge of the local language in order to be leveraged for employment. Moreover, she had to take care of our daughter, without any help of relatives or friends.
We trusted our deal and we invested in our future in the Netherlands. Our six year old daughter speaks perfect Dutch. We recently managed to buy a house. We were lucky to be chosen for a newly built one, despite the very difficult real estate market. We opted for the highest mortgage that we were offered with that plan that we could substantially lower it during the remaining years of the 30% policy. The plan was (we wonder if it still is?) that in the three and a half remaining years from now, the monthly payment of the mortgage would be lower and equal to a rental just as the 30% policy ended. Now, we feel that our plan is collapsing due to the recent decision of the Dutch government to break our deal. Some politicians have suggested that we can prepare ourselves in the remaining six months. But, we wonder how? Ironically, just as our house will be ready for move-in (December 2018), the government proposes to end the 30% rule for me – resulting in a high mortgage and comparably lower net income. Should this proposal be accepted, we anticipate we may have to sell the house that we have dreamed of for so long … a house we have not yet lived in … and eventually leave the country.
In Greece, our country of origin, one of the worst consequences of the crisis was the loss of hundreds of thousands of skillful and highly educated people. In contrast, the Netherlands created an environment to attract such highly skilled people – based heavily on the trust and the agreements they have earned over the years … the same agreements they are now considering to break. No country can afford losing its highly skilled residents. With that, I do not only mean us – the recruited expats - but also our children. Children like my daughter, who at the age of six, already speaks three languages and could have great future in this country.