That Question Again!!!

Old Jan 25th 2016, 4:12 pm
  #1  
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Hi myself and my partner are thinking seriously about moving to the Netherlands in particular Amsterdam or Utrecht.
I know people probably ask this question hundreds of times a week but our situation is slightly different.
I am mid to late twenties male and my partner is 30 much to her disgust, I have a successful business in the UK and have visited the Netherlands many times for business purchases and my partner works in law.
Like i said I have been to Holland alot over the last 5 years for business reasons and have always loved the country and my partner feels the same.
For the sake of this argument we will just talk about me as my partner has been offered to transfer to Amsterdam which is more than me.
Not including the 2 hours before check in it is quicker for us to go from Amsterdam to our nearest airport than to drive from home to London believe it or not.

My line of work is not something I could do in Holland as they just don't exist there, neither am i interested in opening a buissness there either, and to be honest I don't really want to do it anymore i fancy a change of life.
Due to my work i can speak Dutch, not 100 percent fluent and my pronounce is a bit of with some words and sometimes have to ask people to repeat them selves but I don't think I'm that bad really and I am fluent German is that helps.

Because of the limiting nature of my work I would be classed as un skilled in Holland I think so what are the general options for job choices for people like me, my research shows that if i were in IT or Finance then the jobs are there but unfortunately I'm not.
I would be happy with a forklift or labour job or even at one the warehouse jobs at schipol I have seen advertised on expat job sites but don't know what my chances are for one of them.
I do have a counter balance and rough terrain forklift licences but would need refresher courses which I can do before leaving.
As long as it pays my bills then I'm happy which is really my only objective in life not money or possessions but happiness as cliché as that sounds.

I would have enough money to support myself for about 6 months I should think and of course my partners income but we'll exclude her for now.

This isn't a whimsy thought we are serious about it but I am realistic and know that jobs are hard to get anywhere but if you don't try you never know.
Basically I want though and opinions from those that have experience and knowledge to get an idea of what my options are.
Of course there are down sides from my point of view like i wouldn't be able to do my favourite hobby motocross but these are tradeoffs as far as i see it.

I realise that most people want to move for better way of life and better job options whereas with us its more a case of loving the country and the Dutch way of life which is very much us.
I now most people would think I'm mad in this economic climate to leave a functioning business but if it all goes wrong i can come back and start again and I haven't lost anything.

Please excuse the grammes I'm using a smart phone and typing is aggravating.

Thanks guys for any insight you can offer.

Last edited by James707; Jan 25th 2016 at 4:41 pm.
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Old Jan 25th 2016, 5:38 pm
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Working in a warehouse will involve zero hour contracts paying around 8-12 euros per hour (the higher end if you have reachtruck). If there is no work, they will send you home at midday, and some days they won't call you in at all. Invariably they will replace you as soon as you have a period of sickness, and will lay you off at exactly the time when you would by law qualify for a permanent contract to avoid having to issue you with one - but they will call you up 6 months later and offer to start you at the bottom (Phase A contract) again. Should any chance of promotion come up, you will be overlooked due to cronyism which is rampant here, with some excuse like 'your Dutch isn't up to scratch'.

This will be a dead end job. No prospects, no excitment, no future. No knowing from one week to the next if you will have a full weeks work ahead (and the corresponding wagepacket). No calling you back once you're past your prime. Is that worth giving your current situation and business for? It's an existence, rather than 'living the dream'.

Oh, salary (almost forgot). Minimum wage is around 9 euros per hour, but with a Reachtruck licence, they pay between 10.50-11. You will take home just under 1000 per month if you manage to work every single day. You won't qualify for social housing because the waiting list is measured in years and for some areas in the cities, decades. Your colleagues (Dutch) will have been on the list and have social housing, and your other colleagues (Polish, Portuguese, etc) will have rooms in a shared house. Therefore you will be left with houses above the social housing limit (above 700 per month roughly, although at that price they are rare as rockinghorse teeth, so likely above 1000 per month). There is little difference in rental costs between the two cities you mention, but in the commuter belt or cheaper parts of town, you might save on rental costs.

I thought I'd do the doom and gloom post first, but it's pretty accurate (been there as an order picker during hard times). In your shoes, I would be training on anything I could before moving over (you project yourself as being pretty intelligent and driven), or trying to find a job from here before you make any move across. The fact that you've run your own business might be of interest to some employers even if you haven't got the paper qualifications to back it up - start letting your contacts over here know that you're looking to relocate, see if they can give you any leads?

Loving the country might turn into an expensive nightmare if you let your heart rule your head. This is an expensive country to live in.
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Old Jan 25th 2016, 6:45 pm
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Default Re: That Question Again!!!

Hi thanks for that.
No that's what I wanted honesty rather than a fairy tale version of things.
Thats a fair comment about warehousing and I'm sure your right.
I can't find it now but there was a job advertised on reed I think it was, working at schipol in the customs and excise with flights paid for and accommodation help which sparked my intrest, my counter would be why would they pay for flights and temp accommodation if they intend to get rid of you in 6 months?

Like i said I appreciate honesty and I'm sure your knowledge of the subject is far greater than mine, these are just my thoughts on the subject.

I do actually have paper qualifications in LVM and Engineering but my main area of business is with vehicles that are non existent in the the Netherlands apart from ex military ones which is what takes me there.
I wouldn't want to continue with it in Amsterdam anyway.

So what options would someone like me have?
I now that Amsterdam is a busy metropolitan city like all the others in Europe and everyone wants a job but is there any options specifically for people like me.

I don't know if pay would be a issue as my partners income isnt far off mine now and with the move to Amsterdam I expect a massive pay drop for me and she will get a slight raise along with other benefits but that doesn't concern me overly as long as i can get by.
However I HAVE to work i can't sit around with no job it would drive me mad I have to be working and keeping active for my sanity.

Intelligent, I don't know about that?
After all like you said I'm preparing to give a successful business to move somewhere with less pay and higher rent.
But saying that I've looked at rent prices and they are far lower than London considering their location (we are looking close to Centraal) the equivalent in London would be alot higher.
When my partner was in university she paid £1100 for a 1 room grotty flat in central London with alot of service charges on top of that and that's was a few years ago now and apparently they've gone up even more.

I am aware of the reality of living somewhere like Amsterdam and unlike some people have spent enough time to expect what life will be like so you won't hear me complaining of rude Dutch people and not fitting in.

Woul having valid FL licenses and perhaps getting my Dutch 100 percent fluid help?

My partner doesn't have these problems and to be fair I can tag along with her and live of her salary but I couldn't do that we split all bills 50/50 and will do so there, if the chances of having no work at all is a reality then i will ahev to think seriously about it.


Next question what could i do to improve my chances of getting a job, I'm not concerned if it's not a flashy job just something to pay the bills and tide me over until something else comes along again that I can get my teeth in.
If I could get a job then I think I would be alright as i am an extremely hard working person who doesn't take work for granted which is my business succeeded and many other didn't.
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Old Jan 25th 2016, 7:09 pm
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Based on your circumstances, I kind of go with RWF on this. I say kind of because my daughter just did it, but she's bi-lingual and had transferable skills; walked into a job within a week of moving back; then got head-hunted into another role at twice the salary. She also got a housing association house 2 days after that. Living in the east of Holland is considerably easier/cheaper than the west (she pays €550 p/month).

The other side is that as RWF says, it will be hard to get a job unless you have transferable skills that are in demand and speak Dutch. I had both and still ended up living in Holland as a house-husband, hated it (not Holland, the fact I couldn't get a job) and ended getting a job back in the UK and commuting at weekends, which after the initial buzz, was even worse.

Needs a lot of thought mate.
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Old Jan 26th 2016, 6:08 pm
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Thanks for the information guys and I do respect what you are saying and your knowledge is far greater than mine, but I can't help thinking that surely it can't be impossible.
From what you've both said it sounds like it's basically impossible to move to the Netherlands and start a life there, I know lots of people who have moved to various countries all over the world and have managed to build lives and they have been even more disadvantaged than I in that they don't talk the local language at all etc.
I'm of the mind set that if i want to do something or get somewhere then I can as long as i work hard which I do.

My skills are transferable in the sense I am qualified to do it the world over but in Holland these things don't really exist in the same way as they do in England and on top of that you need alot of room to do it and if we move it will be Amsterdam as thats where my partners office is.
Besides I don't really want to do it anymore especially in a commercial environment because it's incredibly stressful and just basically hell hence why I went it alone and I'm glad I did.

Is there anything I can do to improve my options like renewing my FL licenses etc?

Also is there much call for Vehicle damage assessors in amsterdam?
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Old Jan 26th 2016, 7:11 pm
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Default Re: That Question Again!!!

Originally Posted by James707 View Post
.... Is there anything I can do to improve my options like renewing my FL licenses etc?

Also is there much call for Vehicle damage assessors in amsterdam?
Fork-Lift - I doubt it, unless you're driving them on the public road, you don't need a specific licence for a FLT, more a permit saying you've been trained; for example RTITB doesn't exist in Holland, but they'll have their own version of it. This might give you some idea as to why I'm saying this. I know guys who left the UK military with all the licences you can think of, they had to re-train.

The Dutch are very big in qualifications and experience. Some jobs need qualifications, some need relevant experience, some both; if you have these, you'll probably be able to get work. As I said, my daughter just did it.

The job market in Holland at the moment is pretty flat, plus there are a lot of refugees clambering for what untrained jobs there are, so I reckon you need to look to your skills, rather than hope to get in the bottom end.

Best thing you can do is contact some of the agencies (uitzendburea); give them a call and have a chat with them, they'll let you know what your chances are (and if your Dutch is good enough); if they don't think you have a chance, they won't even take you on their books, but at least you'll know.

You say you can speak Dutch; I don't know how good it is, but improving your Dutch will always enhance your ability to perform well in a job interview; personally, I think it's very important. The best way to learn it is to speak it.

Hope this helps.
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Old Jan 26th 2016, 8:03 pm
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Well like I said one if the things I can do is vehicle damage assessments for insurances etc.
But is there a need for this in a city like amsterdam?
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Old Jan 26th 2016, 8:32 pm
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Default Re: That Question Again!!!

Originally Posted by James707 View Post
Well like I said one if the things I can do is vehicle damage assessments for insurances etc.
But is there a need for this in a city like amsterdam?
They certainly bend cars in Holland, so I imagine they must have engineers who do that job. Give the uitzendbureau's I gave you a link to a call; they'll tell you the facts.
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Old Jan 27th 2016, 9:17 am
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" I can do is vehicle damage assessments for insurances etc.
But is there a need for this in a city like amsterdam? "
Can you do it in Nederlands ? And write a report in that language ?
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Old Jan 27th 2016, 12:51 pm
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I think with a bit of time I could write Dutch reports but whether I could do it there, I don't know.
I would need to see if they use the same qualifications there as here, I can't see why they wouldn't but the regulations change from country to country Im not qualified to do it in Canada for example.
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Old Jan 27th 2016, 1:37 pm
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Default Re: That Question Again!!!

Originally Posted by James707 View Post
I think with a bit of time I could write Dutch reports but whether I could do it there, I don't know.
I would need to see if they use the same qualifications there as here, I can't see why they wouldn't but the regulations change from country to country Im not qualified to do it in Canada for example.
If you're a Chartered Engineer, your qualifications will be recognised almost everywhere in the world. However, to get it recognised in Holland, if you haven't already done it, you'll need to apply to the UK Engineering Council and get them to award you the "Eur-Ing" diploma on the back of your Chartered Diploma. Once you have that, your engineering qualifications will be recognised in Holland.

If you're not, then you're probably talking about national certificates, which almost certainly will not be recognised in Holland. None of mine were, which is why I worked to get UK Chartered status in my own profession.

My own opinion is that your Dutch may cause you some issues; would you employ somebody who couldn't write a report in the required language on day 1? There will almost certainly be somebody else after the same job who can.

You should perhaps consider going to Holland on the back of your partners job, then get the training and language skills over there once you're in country and settled down.
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Old Jan 27th 2016, 10:52 pm
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Yes these are all things that need thinking about.

Changing the subject slightly one if the things we were talking about is what do you do if you decide to leave holland?
So say after 6 months we decide to move in somewhere else what would be the process who would we have to declare it to?

Also if your employed and they rake your tax and national insurance out of your wages do you still have to do a tax return at the end of the tax year?
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Old Jan 28th 2016, 10:23 am
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Default Re: That Question Again!!!

Originally Posted by James707 View Post
Yes these are all things that need thinking about.

Changing the subject slightly one if the things we were talking about is what do you do if you decide to leave holland?
So say after 6 months we decide to move in somewhere else what would be the process who would we have to declare it to?

Also if your employed and they rake your tax and national insurance out of your wages do you still have to do a tax return at the end of the tax year?
If you decide to leave; then apart from the hassle factor of moving house, the only real consideration is costs, you will have spent money to get there, to get a house, decorate, furnish etc; you'll be writing that off. There's nothing to tie you there, it's a free country. You should de-register with the local council when you leave, it will prevent any misunderstandings about gemeente belasting (council taxes) should you ever want to come back.

In comparison to the UK, tax is complicated in Holland; this link is worth reading. There is a tax return; everyone has to complete one, every year. Your first year, they will take into account any monies you received in that whole tax year (even before you moved there!).

There is a double-taxation agreement in place between the UK and NL, which means you shouldn't have to pay income-tax twice on the same money. You should be aware however that in the assessment, actual income tax in Holland is quite low, it's the compulsory social taxes (volksverzekeringen) that bring it up and they are not covered by the double taxation agreement, you will get taxed on UK money in this respect; this link explains it. We got caught by this and it cost us £2.5k in back tax on 8 months worth of social taxes. That said, you now know about it and can ask about/budget for that, it only happens in your first year, after that, it gets taken from your salary.

My advice is to speak to a Dutch tax advisor, at least for the first year; mine has retired since I left, but perhaps someone else on here can recommend someone that they use. One warning, don't go to the Dutch tax authorities (Belastingdiesnt) for advice, although very nice and pleasant, they were useless in our experience.

You also need to consider Health Insurances; this is compulsory in Holland, you can't use the UK E card once you are resident. My daughter currently pays 150 Euro p/month for this, so double that for you and your partner. Once you get a job, most companies have their own arrangements with one of the Insurance companies; the benefit is that you probably won't get it any cheaper, but it will move you up a band (so you get more/better cover).

One last thing, if you move, don't forget to register with the local council, you'll need to do that to get a "BSN number" (see link), without that, you can't open a local bank account (although you can open an overseas account with some Dutch banks before you arrive), get medical insurance, register with a doctor/dentist or register a car (I think that's all of it).

Hope this helps.
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Old Jan 28th 2016, 12:17 pm
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Yes I was already aware about health insurance and BSN numbers so that's not a problem.
I think speaking to an advisor would be the best solution as i would hate to miss out on anything and get a heavy fine because I wasn't aware!
How much can I expect to pay them to do my returns, I have always used accountants in UK as i have always been confused about tax systems and it seems like Holland is worse even when I'm normal employment!

Ok thanks for the info about moving, obviously we are planning on staying there but you never know what will happen in life and it's good to know if we do decide to move on we can just go without any rigmarole.

Can anyone recommend a Dutch accountant that is expat friendly?
I think i would go and see an advisor fairly early, another thing is can they help you claim other benefits like rental benefits etc or are they solely income tax related?
Could someone explain to me how the rent benefit works please I have read it but I can't really understand it properly.
Do you apply for it when you do a return or can you apply at any time?

Last edited by James707; Jan 28th 2016 at 2:09 pm.
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Old Jan 28th 2016, 12:26 pm
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I found a website called thetax.nl which is a handy little tool although according to this If I play it safe and say I warn under the minus 19000 or so then I will pay 7000 odd in tax but get 5500 odd in general tax credit and labour tax credit.
Obviously I don't know what my personal income will be so I've played it safe and gone for the lowest estimate, what other fees (apart from health insurance etc) can I expect over this?
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