Data from Tax Consulting South Africa and Xpatweb shows the Netherlands has quietly become one of the top destinations for professionals looking to leave South Africa.
Career opportunities, a secure lifestyle and value placed on South African professionals appear the main attractions for this becoming a most favoured destination, said Marisa Jacobs, director of Xpatweb. She added that skilled local 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.”
Jacobs noted that Xpatweb also met with the deputy ambassador of the South African High Embassy at the World Trade Centre in The Hague to discuss the growing migration trend.
Data provided by the deputy ambassador shows that 35,000 South Africans currently live in the Netherlands, of which 20,000 are working, with the balance being spouses and children.
Why the Netherlands?
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% for 2021.
With the economy growing at such an exponential rate during a pandemic, the Netherlands faces a different dilemma, job vacancies are now outnumbering the number of unemployed people. This means that there are roughly 123 vacancies per 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.
The Netherlands also has fantastic “soft landing” programmes for expats, with efficient government agencies such as the international Expat Centre offering on the ground assistance to expatriates.