Are we migrants or simply temporary residents?

We have neglected this blog for the longest time. It was originally to document our ‘adventure’ of living in Europe and share without having to flood everyones Instagram or FB feed. At some point though we just started living like this was our home. It was never an official moment albeit we did renovate our house last year and made a conscious decision to stay in The Netherlands another few years.

In over 4 and a half years we have had a wonderful time and really feel like we are home in NL. Recently however something has changed and questioned whether we are welcome here and indeed had to really look at where ‘home’ is.

The back story is we moved to The Netherlands as skilled migrants and as such for the first 8 years have been granted a tax break in order to settle our family. The government however have decided that they have a mandate to reduce what they feel is a financial break that is too generous. We tend to agree and have no problem with that decision. The issue? They have decided there will be no transition period, so all 60,000 skilled migrants today will be subject to the change and when you hit 5 years you simply lose that tax break. Now for some folks that can be a reduction in take home pay of 25% where like us, you have less than 12 months to work out how to make that work.

We have stressed over this a lot. We can’t talk to most of our Dutch friends and family as they all pay full tax so what is the issue for us to also pay the same tax they do? So why not go ‘home’?

I have bounced through all of the pro’s and con’s and every day. I second guess myself on the best outcome for our family. We are hopeful that we can contribute through the expat community and convince the government to change their mind before this is made law in December. We hope they allow for us and others in a similar situation to have a transition period and allow us the final 3 years to arrange our finances to make that decision to stay in The Netherlands or leave. Belinda has contributed and I am so proud of her to put our story out there to try and change the course of the Dutch government.

In the end there are bigger issues out there in the world and I am not here to start to complain that I am a poor migrant. Given we are still privileged enough to make a decision for the best outcome of our family, as well as potentially influence the government or my employer is a great place to be.

So why complain or even write and share? We post lots of stuff about all the great things our family does and is doing. But we have issues that stress us out and ask questions about our well being like many others. This is a big issue for us and many will not relate to it. Some will. But the point is we all face challenges even when everything appears to be perfect. We have our health. We live in a great place and have a wonderful summer holiday to look forward to. I love my job and my career is going exactly where I had hoped it would – but right now we are feeling like aliens in our ‘home’ The Netherlands and we really hope to get past all of that really soon and just be happy. We are not citizens and that tax break while we agree is generous was something in place to make our decision to stay in The Netherlands. It will be a turbulent time but we will all pull together and get through it I am sure.

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