IR Search Anton van Rossum

Anton van Rossum 

13 March

K.C. asks:

In 2014, after studying computer science in India, I joined a large high-tech outfit in Bangalore as a software engineer for wireless technology. Two years ago, I received an offer from a company in London for a senior software position. A long-held dream came true! Benefiting from my visa, my husband quickly found a job as a software engineer here, too. We’re having a great time and really like life in London.

You can imagine the shock when I was told that my position would soon be cut. To make things worse, I’m now experiencing firsthand how difficult it is for a migrant to find a new job in London. There’s little or no response to my applications, and when I do get a reaction, it’s a rejection. It seems like people don’t want to sponsor ‘foreigners’ anymore. Another problem is that the income requirements for migrant workers have become much higher and will only continue to increase in the future.

I need to secure a new position within two months or we have to return to India. As applying for jobs in the UK is so difficult, we’re also open to opportunities in the Netherlands. How do you view our chances?

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The headhunter answers:

In principle, you have a good chance of finding a suitable position in the Netherlands. Despite the shaky international economic tide, there’s still a high demand for experienced software engineers here.

Moreover, I see little sign of an ‘anti-foreigner’ climate at Dutch technology companies. That would also be very unwise, given the large numbers of international knowledge workers already employed in the Netherlands. Without them, Dutch high-tech would fare a lot less well. Like elsewhere in Europe (and the West in general), we do of course have some pseudo-xenophobic bleating from right-wing politicians, but so far, this hasn’t seriously affected the lives of knowledge migrants, except for the tax benefit of the 30 percent rule being further limited.

Note that applying successfully has become an art here in the Netherlands – just as it has in the UK. There are an awful lot of applicants, many of whom use Linkedin to create an immense pile of completely hopeless applications. This huge cloud of dust obscures the many good candidates, despite all the artificial intelligence employed by Linkedin.

For an efficient and successful application, you need to follow up in writing or by phone. If you have the right credentials, this will allow you to underline your candidature. In this respect, the Dutch situation doesn’t differ from the one in the UK, although I have heard that British companies are more hesitant in that they only want to act as visa sponsors under very strict conditions because of the huge paperwork involved. A major reason for Brexit was, of course, the restriction of labor migration.

British government policy on migrant workers, incidentally, differs greatly from that in the Netherlands. We still have a relatively quick, simple and flexible procedure to get a work visa. It may take longer than in the past due to large backlogs at the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), but you can still get your papers within 4-6 weeks.

Nevertheless, this is probably going to be your biggest obstacle to finding employment in the Netherlands. If you can’t legally stay in the UK for another two months, the Dutch immigration procedure may very well require you to return to India as well. I’m not completely sure about this; I would have to check with the IND.