Career opportunities, secure lifestyle and value are the main attractions for South African professionals.
Director of Xpatweb, Marisa Jacobs, says skilled South African professionals are in high demand in the Netherlands.
“Not only is the Netherlands attractive in terms of their work/life balance, but the Dutch government offers enticing tax incentives for highly skilled migrants, especially in the financial, engineering and information technology fields,” she says.
Xpatweb was in the Netherlands after hosting tax and immigration planning sessions with recently emigrated South Africans.
“What was interesting to learn is that the deputy ambassador confirmed that there are 35,000 South Africans currently in the Netherlands, of whom 20,000 are working and the balance are spouses and children”, Marisa says.
The numbers show that the Netherlands has become “home away from home” for South Africans moving abroad.
Why the Netherlands?
Marisa says Covid-19 and its far-reaching effects have not deterred the economic growth of the Netherlands. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), economic growth rose to 4.8 percent for 2021.
“With the economy growing at such an exponential rate during a pandemic, the Netherlands has now been facing a different type of dilemma: job vacancies are now outnumbering the number of unemployed people. This means that there are roughly 123 vacancies to 100 unemployed people according to the CBS.”
It is not just the growing pool of vacancies that’s attractive for South Africans. “The Dutch work/life balance is another contributing factor to why the Netherlands is seen as an emerging hub for skilled migrants. The Dutch put a lot of emphasis on “family/leisure time” and working hours are fewer than in most European countries. Most Dutch professionals work on average 35 hours per week where a few of those days can be used for remote working,” Marisa explains.
“The Netherlands also has fantastic ‘soft landing’ programmes for expats, with efficient government agencies such as the international Expat Centre that offer on-the-ground assistance to expatriates who have just moved into their country. The assistance entails a detailed smooth onboarding of individuals and businesses into the Netherlands, ranging from customs, arrival, orientation and housing tour, and real estate, to the most practical matters of registering in the Netherlands for social security, health insurance, banking and even as to finding relevant child carers/education.”