European countries should cooperate more on labor migration to face competition from other parts of the US and China. This is what Volt’s party leader Laurence Tasen says in a PNR Entrepreneurship Debate. ‘There is a fierce battle with these countries for international talent in ICT, technology and new technologies.’
Dassen says that without a European plan, European technology and ICT companies, including Dutch companies, will ‘completely fail’. He believes that European countries still compete too much with each other in the field of foreigners. ‘Every country is going further and further in their overseas arrangements, and we’re arranging a race to the bottom.’ Dassen wants ‘collective agreements’ in Europe to prevent individual countries from ‘competing with each other’.
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He draws support from GroenLinks-PvdA MP Tom van der Lee, who notes that a European approach to labor migration is difficult to achieve. ‘The truth is: it’s still a long way off.’ Van der Lee wants to invest in education so that the business community can get well-trained workers from their own countries.
Expats in the Netherlands enjoy many tax benefits. The House of Representatives decided to simplify the arrangement on the last day of the session before the election break. Based on the idea of Pieter Omtzigt (NSC), he wants to offset student loan systems with the money it generates. Van der Lee is a co-signatory of that amendment, as he insists in this debate. He will invest in ‘our own knowledge workers’, Dutch students, rather than foreigners.
Expats currently get a five-year tax break: 30 percent of gross salary is paid tax-free. In Omtzigt’s amendment, the 30 percent scheme remains in place for the first twenty months, but will then be phased out over five years. The rate decreases by 10 percent every twenty months, to 0 percent.
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VVD MP Eelco Heinen sees none of that, he says. “We are the only party that has voted against this motion. We need that knowledge in the Netherlands, people from outside contribute to our economy. Heinen believes that the expatriate program in the Netherlands is often simplified at the expense of Dutch companies. For example, according to Heinen, an organization like ASML ‘cannot exist without outsiders’. He also pointed out that many companies in the Netherlands are facing staff shortages.
First the owners
MP Eddy van Hijum, Omtzigt’s candidate for a new social contract, believes training our own people should be considered first before companies turn to migrant workers. ‘Labor migration may be a solution to part of the problem, but it starts with training and developing your own workforce. There are still a hundred thousand people who can work with good training and good guidance.’
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