This popular European country is on a ‘recruitment drive’ for skilled South Africans

With a swiftly growing economy and the demand for skilled workers far exceeding available domestic supply, the Netherlands is increasingly enticing highly skilled South Africans wishing to take advantage of the country’s attractive work/life balance and impressive salary packages, says South Africa’s largest independent tax practice, Tax Consulting South Africa.

“We have observed an unprecedented demand from various industries in the Netherlands for highly-skilled, qualified South African candidates,” said Roxanna Naidoo, tax attorney at Tax Consulting South Africa.

South Africa was one of the Netherlands’ top 10 source markets for migration in 2021, with almost 2,000 South Africans emigrating to the country in that year, a 2022 report by the Dutch statistical bureau CBS shows.

As the Dutch labour market continues to tighten, CBS further reports that an oversupply of available positions and an undersupply of qualified candidates has resulted in the availability of 133 jobs for every 100 people.

The skills that are most in demand are those in:

  • Engineering;
  • Information Technology;
  • Auditing;
  • Financial Services;
  • Accounting;
  • Medical;
  • Management;
  • Specialist products.

Securing a permit 

To live and work in the Netherlands, candidates require a Highly Skilled Migrant Residence Permit, which is available to foreign nationals who are considered able to make a contribution to Holland’s knowledge-based economy.

Successful applicants should have a job contract with an employer or research institution in the Netherlands, with a salary base that cannot be less than that of a Dutch national in the same position, Tax Consulting South Africa said.

In addition, certain salary criteria must be met:

  • If a person applying is over the age of 30, the minimum gross salary of the Netherlands-based position must be €62,726 a year.
  • If a person is below the age of 30, the employee should earn a minimum gross salary of €45,995 a year.

“The permit remains valid for up to five years, or for the duration of the employment contract,” the firm said.

Engineering expertise most in-demand skillset

Leading the cohort of in-demand skills in the Netherlands are engineering-related professions, with around 13% of all job advertisements relating to positions available in engineering, most significantly in mechanical, industrial, electrical, food, biomedical, energy, computer science and civil engineering.

Also in demand are skilled, qualified candidates with expertise in human resources, ICT security, pedagogy, solar installation, healthcare, and construction.

“Incredible opportunity exists in the Netherlands for skilled South African ‘knowledge workers’ wishing to take advantage of the current recruitment campaign. But to ensure a successful move, each candidate must ensure that they are adequately guided through the intricate due diligence processes on both the Dutch and South African side,” said Naidoo.


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This popular European country is on a ‘recruitment drive’ for skilled South Africans