30% ruling for highly skilled migrants

The 30%-ruling (also known as the 30%-benefit) is a tax benefit for highly skilled migrants moving to the Netherlands. When the necessary conditions are met, the employer can pay 30% of the employee’s salary free of taxes. This benefit is intended as compensation of the extra costs associated with employees moving to a new country, for example the transport of furniture or the higher costs of living in the Netherlands. In order to be eligble for the 30%-ruling, the following conditions must be met: 


  • Employment relationship

The 30%-benefit only applies to employment relationship. It does not apply to those who are self-employed. It is possible to work around this by setting up a legal entity, for example a Dutch B.V., and hiring oneself as an employee of this company.

  • Transferred or recruited from abroad

In order to be eligible for the 30%-ruling, the employee must be either transferred or recruited from abroad. In light of this, the employee needs to prove that they were residing outside of the Netherlands before they began their present employment in the Netherlands. Moreover, the employee cannot have lived within 150 km of the Dutch border for more than 8 months of the last 24 months prior to the start of employment in the Netherlands.

  • Specialized expertise

The 30%-ruling only applies to those employees who have a specialized expertise that is scarce on the Dutch employment market. Whether the employee has a specialized expertise depends on several facets, such as:

  • Salary
  • Age
  • Employment history
  • Education
  • Level of employment

None of the above-mentioned facets are conclusive. At the present, it is assumed that an employee has a specialized expertise if they meet the minimum salary requirements. The gross salary of the highly skilled migrant must surpass a minimum, meaning a minimum annual salary of at least € 39,647 (2022). A minimum of € 30,001 applies for those who have completed a master’s degree and are younger than 30 years of age. No minimum salary is required for scientific researchers, employees working in scientific education or doctors in training. Please note that there are restrictions regarding the companies or institutions for which this group of employees can work.

  • Awareness of the consequences by both employer and employee

Both the employer and employee should be aware of the implications of applying the 30%-ruling. The employee’s gross salary will after all be reduced by 30%, which has potential consequences for potential unemployment or disability benefits. Therefore, the Dutch tax authorities (in Dutch: belastingdienst) requires both the employer and employee to be aware of these consequences. This criterium can be met by a adding a written clause or addendum to the employment contract.

How to apply?

The 30%-ruling can be applied for by a joint request of the employee and employer. If the request is submitted within 4 months of the first day of employment, the 30%-ruling will apply retroactively from the first day of employment. If the request is not submitted within 4 months, the 30%-ruling will apply from the first day of the month following the month in which the request was submitted. The maximum duration of the 30%-ruling is 5 years. This term can be shortened due to previous residence or work in the Netherlands.

A rejection of a request to apply the 30%-ruling can be objected to (in Dutch: bezwaar) and appealed to (in Dutch: beroep). The maximum duration of the 30%-ruling is five years. This term can be shortened due to previous residence or work in the Netherlands.

A new job

If a highly skilled migrant changes jobs, it is possible to transfer the 30%-ruling to his new employer. However, there should be no more than 3 months between ending the old job and starting the new one. The highly skilled migrant should apply for an extension within 4 months after the first day of work at his new employer. This will ensure that the 30%-ruling can be continued without loss of term.

Exemption from work

It is important to realize that the 30%-ruling stops applying from the moment the employee is exempted from work. This is also the moment that the 3-month term starts within which the employee should find new employment to be able to regain the 30%-ruling.

Extra information

As an expat, it may be difficult to figure out everything that needs to be taken into account and taken care of in addition to regular Dutch employment law. If you have any questions or need help figuring out what exactly applies to you, do not hesitate to contact us.