The government’s plan to limit the 30% tax break for skilled foreign workers will slash internationals’ spending power within the local economy, according to research by the International Community Advisory Panel.
Over half the first 3,000 respondents to the survey said they would lose €750 to €1,500 a month when they stopped benefiting from the ruling and one in five would be €500 to €750 a month worse off.
‘I will have trouble paying my mortgage. My bank will not lower my monthly fee because I lost the 30% ruling,’ one respondent said. ‘This has put a lot of people in a very stressful situation.’
The 30% ruling is a tax break which international workers can benefit from if they lived at least 150 km from the Dutch border before moving to the Netherlands and if they meet certain salary and skill requirements. It is widely used by Dutch companies and universities to bring in foreign staff for positions that they have been unable to fill locally.
In particular, the government’s proposal not to bring in a transition period for people currently benefiting from the 30% ruling has caused anger and alarm.
Some 56% of the expats who have taken part in the online ICAP survey so far said the proposal had damaged their trust in the government while 32% said the change made it likely they would not work in the Netherlands for more than five years, despite having originally planned to stay longer.
‘People have been in tears because they don’t know how they are going to manage from next January. This would represent a significant and immediate drop in income which anyone would struggle to accommodate with such little notice’ said ICAP board member Deborah Valentine.
‘The response to our survey has been overwhelming. While the international community supports the government’s right to change the benefit, the decision to apply it retroactively has broken people’s trust and jeopardized their finances.’
In total, over 3,000 expats took part in the survey – all of whom benefit from, or used to benefit from, the 30% ruling. Over half (54%) had been sent to the Netherlands by their employer, while 37% came to the Netherlands to take up a job. Seven in 10 said the 30% ruling was a determining factor in their decision to move to the Netherlands.
Just over half the respondents work for a Dutch company, 38% for a foreign multinational and 9% work at a university or international school.
Meanwhile, the United Expats in the Netherlands association, which is campaigning for a transition period for expats, has gathered over 24,600 signatures for its petition to parliament.
Parliament’s finance committee will discuss the planned change on May 31.