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Why so many South Africans have eyes on the Netherlands


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The Netherlands has emerged as a hotspot for skilled professionals, with Tax Consulting South Africa saying they have noted “an unprecedented wave of South Africans” making their way there over the past several months.

According to Netherlands’ statistics hub, the Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek, there are an estimated 41,300 South Africans living in the Netherlands- a big portion of which are active participants in the workforce.

“The country’s active recruitment of talent, particularly in sectors like finance, engineering, and information technology, provides a compelling incentive for South Africans seeking new career horizons,” said Tax Consulting South Africa’s Roxanna Naidoo.

Looking at the most in-demand skills, around 13% of all job advertisements relate to positions available in engineering – mainly mechanical, industrial, electrical, food, biomedical, energy, computer science and civil engineering.

“Also in demand are skilled, qualified candidates with expertise in human resources, ICT security, pedagogy, solar installation, healthcare, and construction,” said Naidoo.

On top of these enticing job opportunities, Naidoo said that attractive tax incentives and a surging ‘home away from home’ community have boosted this change in migration patterns.

Attractive tax incentives

“The Dutch government’s provision of enticing tax incentives for highly skilled migrants is an additional drawcard,” said Naidoo, outlining how the Netherlands operates with a 30% tax facility for foreign workers.

This initiative allows individuals to receive tax-free 30% of their salary.

“These incentives, particularly favourable in sectors like finance and technology, add an extra layer of motivation for South Africans contemplating a move to the Netherlands,” said Naidoo.

Surging ‘home away from home’

With over 41,000 South Africans residing in the Netherlands, the country “has transformed into a preferred destination for those seeking familiarity and community in a foreign land,” said Naidoo.

Looking beyond economic considerations, the Dutch work/life balance has become a significant pull factor.

This because there is an emphasis of “family/leisure time and a standard workweek of around 35 hours,” which a lifestyle that resonates with many South Africans who are looking for “a more balanced and fulfilling professional and personal life,” explained Naidoo.

Read: Big shift for emigration in South Africa – why expats want back in

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