My name is Michela, I come from Italy and I have been living in the Netherlands since 2013. I work in finance for a multinational. I have a Dutch partner and two daughters. For most of my life I have lived in Italy, I studied there, got my University degree in Milan and became a certified public accountant in the US.
So why did I move to the Netherlands? Family. My partner is Dutch and back then we had our first baby so it came the time to decide where to live. I had a job in Italy and I wouldn’t have left, however I knew my partner would have struggled there not knowing the language. So, I tried to look for a job in the Netherlands and I found one in Amsterdam at first. That went quite quick as my professional profile was found quite interesting on the labor market. I worked there for about a year and then I found another job in the North, close to Groningen, where I was and I am currently living. I was tired of commuting and my profile, especially having the American certification, was appealing for other multinationals in the Netherlands. Particularly in the north where finding skilled labor can be a challenge for companies.
Now, I got the 30% ruling and what did/do we use that for? Moving costs, legacy expenses I still have in my home country etc. I still have some family and I try to go visit them from time to time because I get home sick and I would like my kids to spend some time with their relatives. Actually, my mother died 2 years ago, just the day after I came back after spending a week there with my daughter. I am so grateful I could go and see her for the last time. If I didn’t have the ruling, I wouldn’t have visited them. Because traveling also costs money, flying with 4 people and lodging gets easily to a thousand euro for a few days.
We also spend part of the ruling for daycare, which is very expensive here in the Netherlands. Three times what I would pay in Italy, and my salary didn’t become three times what I had there when I moved.
We also decided to make an investment and buy a house, based on the assumption I would have had 8 years of ruling.
Now, for I believe the majority of expats, that 30% is not saved but it is injected back into the Dutch economy. We spend it in education, services, daycare, rents, cars, fuel, grocery, we pay health insurance, pension, we help move the economy.
If the law passes I imagine the number of expats that will progressively leave the country to have an impact on the short and medium run on companies. Talents will start moving out of the country, and do not misunderstand me, I am not saying that Dutch are not talented. There are many talented Dutch I met and the mix of talents coming from different cultures creates a powerful combination that will move somewhere else. The negative publicity will also impact the decision of potential new expats to move to the Netherlands, which heavily rely on experience from expats living in the country.
What will I do if my ruling stops in January? I don’t know yet, like several other expats we will have to heavily reduce expenses. I will likely stay until we can carry on, but there won't be anything emotional keeping me here anymore.
I know there are several debates about the ruling, a lot people thinking that is not fair. I do respect that, as well as the decision to reduce it or to eliminate it, but not for those who already have that granted. Going retrospectively is just so unfair and so not respectful of people’s lives. Because expatriating is not going on vacation, it’s a heavy choice that people made based on the outcome of the 30% ruling. Some didn’t get that and decided to stay or decided not to stay, some others lost it because they changed jobs, some others still have it. In all cases the outcome was known, the rules were known, and that allowed people and families to take important decisions about their lives.
So, what are we going to tell to new expats? “Hey if you come here you could get the 30% ruling for 5 years but you know, maybe that can change any time to 3 years or 2 or 1 or zero so well, you know, don’t really count on it...”. “Ah ok thanks, I’d rather stay home then or better, move to another country that I know will keep their promises”.