Our family of four moved to the east of the Netherlands in early 2014, following a job offer as Assistant Professor (universitair docent) at a university. This wasn't an easy decision, because only I would have a job, and our kids were about to get schooled. We almost decided against it once we saw an example calculation of the expected net salary, which would have been barely sufficient to support a family of four in a foreign country without a support network of family or friends. Fortunately, my employer encouraged me to come and pointed out the 30%-rule, which ultimately made the difference. More than four years later, we haven't regretted our choice, having made an effort to learn Dutch and participating in associations and social activities. Financially, however, it has been just okay. We're definitely not amassing wealth, because we still depend almost exclusively on my salary (for my partner, finding a job proved difficult as a foreigner, with this part of the country benefiting less and later of the overall economic boom). Therefore, the recent news on the 30%-rule were even more astonishing and shocking. Astonishing because it contradicts our image of the Dutch state, undermining our faith in its reliability and rule of law. Shocking because within a few months, we will face an unexpected drop in net salary of almost 20%. This is much worse than completely abolishing hypotheekrenteaftrek without compensation. Our entire financial planning (mortgage, renovations, ...) was based on three more years of 30%-rule. We won't default on payments thanks to conservative planning, but we will have to make severe spending cuts across the board.
Many of my colleagues will have do the same. We belong to the roughly 50.000 recipients (77% of the total) who generate only 37% of the total “cost” of the 30%-rule (2016 government numbers). Because we spend most of our disposable income locally, the local economy - which is still weaker than in the rest of the country - will face the brunt of those cuts. Higher education will also suffer, because for Dutch tech university graduates the private sector seems more attractive than academia. This means we rely a lot on highly skilled immigrants to fill open positions, teach Dutch students, and conduct research.
Of course we fully support the right of the Dutch government to change laws and taxation. However, all such changes are usually implemented slowly and with transition periods. For example, when the 30%-rule was shortened from 10 to 8 years, existing agreements were upheld and only new applications were subject to the change. We received a letter that clearly states that the 30%-rule has been granted until January 2022. We respectfully ask the Dutch government to honor this agreement and that a deal remains a deal.