I’ve been working as an analog IC designer in the Netherlands for almost two years now. I did my bachelor’s at a university in Tamil Nadu, India, where I was born. I then worked for about four years as a PCB and layout engineer, before I had saved enough to move to Delft and do my master’s there. After completion, I started in my current position.
Recently, my manager told me my department will be closed in six months. The activities are relocated to Arizona, where my company is now recruiting plenty of staff. Of course, I think it’s a shame. I have great colleagues and I’ve learned a lot here. On the other hand, I know that there’s always work to be found for my specialism and I’m open to anything.
When I applied for a position at a large chip company in Eindhoven, I soon received a phone call from an HR employee, inviting me for a screening. Initially, he was very positive about a follow-up video interview, but the next day, he called me to cancel. Under the existing knowledge migrant legislation, they would be obliged to give me a higher salary than allowed by their classification based on education and experience.
I didn’t take it completely seriously at first, but it turns out to be the case. According to the applicable rules, because I only have two years of work experience after my master’s and turned thirty this year, I’d have to earn 4,752 euros gross per month with a new employer in the Netherlands, which is 61,586 euros per year. This salary is considerably higher than what I get now.
According to the HR employee who brought it up, this could make it very difficult for me to find a job in the Netherlands. For most companies, I’m ‘too expensive’ compared to other engineers with my experience. Can you help me find an employer for whom the salary limit isn’t a problem, or can you offer an alternative solution?
The headhunter answers:
The Netherlands enforces an age-dependent salary criterion for highly skilled migrants: a minimum of 45,153 euros under the age of 30 and 61,586 euros above that. This criterion is a nuisance to you and many others. You’ll be subject to it as long as you continue to work for the same employer – even after you turn 30. When moving to another company, your age at that time applies. That’s what the HR employee saw on the IND website and what he based his conclusion on.
What he’s overlooking, however, is that there’s an exception to this rule for highly skilled migrants who qualify for the reduced salary criterion. This continues to apply, even if a migrant subsequently moves to another employer. The reduced salary criterion isn’t age-dependent; it applies if you meet the condition for the “orientation year for highly educated persons” and if you apply for a residence permit for work as a highly skilled migrant within three years after your graduation or promotion date or the date on which the residence permit for scientific research expired.
The reduced salary criterion also applies if you didn’t get a residence permit for the orientation year for highly educated persons, but do meet the conditions for that purpose of residence. Because you graduated less than three years ago, you’re eligible. If I were you, I’d contact that HR employee again – maybe you can still get an interview for the position.