Universities, institutes of higher professional education and research institutes are worried about the greater austerity for the so-called thirty-percent arrangement, a tax benefit of thirty percent for foreign employees. They are afraid that international talents will ignore the Netherlands if the duration of the arrangement is shortened from eight to five years next year.
Jo van Ham, Vice-President of the Executive Board, let it be known even in May that TU/e is also dead against curtailing the measure.
In a letter the universities asked the state secretary to reconsider the measure or at least to take care of a transitional arrangement for expats already living in the Netherlands. After all, they took the tax benefit into account when they decided to move and are now confronted with an unpleasant surprise.
However, such a transitional arrangement is not desirable “from a viewpoint of simplicity and practicability of the arrangement”, writes state secretary Menno Snel from Finances to the Lower House. Nor is he going to draw up a plan together with the universities in order to warrant the continuity of ongoing research programs. That is up to the universities themselves, says the state secretary.
The VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands) estimates that there are some six to seven thousand university employees that are making use of the arrangement. In many cases these are young researchers on low salaries who could not afford to live in the Netherlands if it was not for the thirty-percent arrangement. Still, state secretary Snel is not impressed. “All of these aspects have been taken into consideration in the decision about the measure proposed,” he writes.