Skip to main content

Why are so many South Africans moving to the Netherlands?

By November 23, 2022FinGlobal

Why are so many South Africans moving to the Netherlands?

November 23, 2022


While it may come as no surprise that thousands of South Africans are eagerly packing their bags and heading to greener grass, it may be a little surprising to hear that the Netherlands is one of the top 10 places Saffas head to! This could be because the requirements to immigrate to the Netherlands from South Africa are easy to meet, and people who move over for work reasons are typically well looked after in their new jobs (if the stats are anything to go on).

The stats provided by CBS ( Central Bureau of Statistics)  are undeniable. It shows a steady, rapid growth in South Africans heading to the Netherlands. The Netherlands is a fantastic destination for striking a work/life balance. Another reason the country is so attractive is that the government offers tax incentives to migrants falling into the “highly skilled” category. It’s worth noting the top three fields in the Netherlands specifically looking for highly skilled South Africans are as follows:

  • Information technology
  • Engineering
  • Financial

Because South Africans are in demand and known for a strong work ethic and reliable expertise, would-be emigrants shouldn’t be afraid to start making plans or, at the very least, apply for international vacancies. As it turns out, getting a work visa for the Netherlands from South Africa won’t be that challenging if you’re highly skilled in the abovementioned fields.

What makes living in the Netherlands as a South African so great?

In 2021, when the rest of the world’s economic growth was cringing thanks to Covid-19, the Netherlands was experiencing 4.8% growth . While this sounds like a dream come true for the country (and it is), there’s a new problem faced… more jobs than unemployed individuals. And you know what it means? The government is looking to attract skilled professionals to enjoy their country’s bounty in exchange for professional services. It’s a great trade and one that many South Africans are snapping up. Some statistics show that for every 100 unemployed people, there are 123 vacancies – and not everyone seeking employment in the Netherlands is skilled in the required fields! As a result, jobs in the Netherlands for South African citizens are prolific.

The presence of ASML in the Netherlands, a powerful technology company, and the fact that they just sold their chipmaking tool to Intel is bound to present even more jobs in the IT, engineering, and financial fields.

But is it the lure of great jobs that has so many people moving to the Netherlands from South Africa? No, it’s not. The Netherlands also offers great work/life balance, safety, and communities gleaned for raising families.

Tax benefits for skilled migrant workers in the Netherlands

Netherlands work visa requirements are easy to meet, and then there are the tax benefits (something South Africans love)! The tax incentive is extended to skilled migrants who are experts in fields where local Dutch cannot fill certain positions. What’s the incentive? It’s a 30% tax ruling.

What does this mean? It means that employers can pay highly skilled migrants an additional amount called “extraterritorial costs” to the amount of 30% of their gross salary, which will not be taxed. To get access to this tax benefit, you must meet very specific Netherlands’ highly skilled migrant visa requirements.

The requirements to immigrate to Netherlands from South Africa and access the 30% tax ruling incentive include the following:

  • The skills the employee possesses must be rare or hard to come by in the Netherlands (by locals)
  • You must have been recruited from outside the Netherlands
  • You must have received a government-issued valid decision.

What to do if you’re considering moving to the Netherlands from South Africa

Once you’ve found work in the Netherlands, you must ensure you take precautions to remain SARS compliant. Step one is to decide if you will permanently leave South Africa to live and work in the Netherlands or if you intend to return to South Africa. Another important thing to determine is if you will be working in the Netherlands as an independent contractor or employed by a company as an actual employee.

These determinations will help you decide how to approach your tax residency issue and, of course, your foreign income. If you plan to remain a tax resident in South Africa, you must declare your  South African and foreign income and possibly apply for an exemption on foreign earnings. Even if you qualify for an exemption, you must submit a tax return.

Any foreign income over R1.25 million is taxed at as high as 45%. When you decide to be a South African citizen, no longer, it doesn’t automatically cancel your tax residency. This is where a consultant at FinGlobal can assist you with understanding the nitty-gritty details you’ll need to get in order before you go.

Get help with your relocation to the Netherlands here at FinGlobal

At FinGlobal, we understand that sometimes opportunities exist abroad that you just cannot say no to. And when those opportunities arise, we want to be there to help SAFFAs make the transition smoothly. Moving to the Netherlands from South Africa will require a bit of work on your tax residency –an area that our consultants excel in. We can also provide in-depth advice on FOREX and retirement annuity access.

With more than ten years of experience behind us, we can assist you with a smooth, hassle-free move to the Netherlands. For a friendly discussion regarding your immigration requirements, you can contact our team today! To contact our team, call us at +27 28 312 2764 or email us at, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.  

Leave a Reply