The Netherlands is a multicultural, multi-lingual and progressive country. That is why so many expats choose this country to be their home. But what do they like about it?

The Netherlands is one of those places that has its perks – offering a high quality of life enabled by tax incentives for expats, a great education system with plenty of courses in English, as well as opportunities for career growth for expats.

Read on as we take a closer look at some aspects of the Dutch culture and how it makes this country such an appealing destination for talent from anywhere in the world.

Tax incentives for Expats – 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.

Accessible immigration procedures

The Netherlands has historically always been a hub for international trade and has a rich history of multiculturism. Expats and international businesses were instrumental in making the Netherlands what it is today.

When there is such value coming from the immigration department of the Netherlands – it is obvious why we strive to make the immigration process as simple as possible.

The Dutch immigration department publishes clear information about processes, requirements, and necessary documents in both Dutch and English. Both and the IND website provide useful information and is very easily found.

Like other countries in Europe – most businesses (Dutch or international) can initiate immigration processes for just about any person they intend to hire. Any business that meets the criteria to be a ‘recognized sponsor’ and goes through the process, will be able to immigrate people with relatively short downtime.

Top quality higher education in English

The Netherlands is home to some of the most prestigious Universities in Europe, and attracts 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. There is even a route for students to stay in the Netherlands after they graduate via an Orientation Year visa.

The graduates from Dutch universities qualify for a reduced salary criterion (compared with the Highly Skilled migrant), which means that they can easily transition to the highly skilled migrant visa later as the requirements are slightly more relaxed.

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, businesses located in the Netherlands have better access to highly educated people.

Starting a business is simple

Having ranked third in the EU on 2019’s Global Innovation Index, the Netherlands is without a doubt an attractive center 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 and pilot programme for non-EU/EEA professionals. This allows foreign entrepreneurs to pursue passion projects and to benefit from the Dutch start-up ecosystem.

High quality of 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 an ideal 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.

Ready to bring your top talent to the Netherlands?

If you are an international business looking to hire from abroad (or find expat talent in the Netherlands) – get in touch with us today! We are a team of expert expats who have moved from abroad to the Netherlands and are passionate about helping you and your employees find their way here. Whether it is immigration support, practical advice about running a business here or expat-friendly HR activities, the Octagon team is here to support your needs.

Schedule a consultation to find out more about how Octagon Professionals can help you find and grow the best talent for your business.

Images provided by: Event illustrations by Storyset