There’s plenty of information out there about contracting in the UK, but what about when it comes to working abroad? Before you decide to leave the UK to contract overseas, there are a few things you will need to consider. We understand that there’s a lot of rules to follow. That’s why we’ve put together a number of resources to help you along the way. All countries around the world have their own tax laws, some are very different and have some rather unusual restrictions. We’ve broken down the rules and responsibilities in some of the most popular locations contractors choose to work from, so no matter where you’re working, you’re always in good hands.
Working Abroad as a Contractor
One of the perks of contracting is the chance to work in a location of your choice. This applies to you can take your business to another country. Working abroad takes a considerable amount of planning and research, but is achievable if you take the necessary steps.
We've put together some advice and guidance to prepare you ahead of your new venture.
Contracting in France
If you're looking for a fresh, new challenge, contracting abroad could be just what you need. There are plenty of opportunities in France, but there are a few things you need to be aware of before you hop on a flight abroad.
Registration of EU citizens working in France
The rules outlining registration in France (enregistrement des citoyens européens) states that EU citizens do not need a visa or work permit to work in France. If you're only working in France for less than 90 days, your employer or client will need issue you with a temporary work permit. This permit is approved by the French Ministry of Labour and authorisation is sent to the French embassy in the UK where you can apply for your visa.
Travelling within France
France is a signatory of the Schengen Treaty. The 15 Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. As a citizen of an EU, EFTA, EEA country you will effectively have a Schengen visa and may enter one country and travel freely throughout the Schengen zone.
Taxation rates in France
French Income Tax rates for 2020 are as follows:
Up to €9,964
Your marital status and number of children may change this in your own case.
In addition to Income Tax, homeowners or residents may also be subject to dwelling or property tax and wealth tax.
There are certain deductions which are permissible.
Individuals will be regarded as a tax resident if they have their own home which is their principal abode in France, also if they are working as an employed person or independently in France. They will also be regarded as a tax resident if their centre of economic interest is in France.
Health Considerations in France
European Council Regulation 1408/71 underpins the right of EU Nationals to work in another EU State in keeping with the principles of the free movement of labour enshrined in The Treaty of Rome and subsequent treaties.
The free movement of labour can only be realistic if social benefits can also be transferred, including health insurance coverage.
Forms have used that act as a certificate of entitlement to health care in another EEA country.
As of May 2010, the ‘E’ Forms have been replaced by ‘A’ and ‘S’ Forms with the number of forms is being reduced. The forms mean that you will not need to pay French health insurance service E106/S1 contributions for the duration covered on the form.
E101/A1 can be obtained and renewed once issued. They are for those people whose work is regarded as temporary. If you and your family are moving to France and one of you temporarily commutes back across the French border to the UK to work, then an E106/A1 is normally available for health cover in France for one year and then is renewable.
These can be obtained for those who live in one country and wish to work in another to obtain health cover where their family lives (France). It is important for contractors to remember that only approximately 70% of costs are covered in this way.
Contracting in Germany
Do you have your sights set on something a bit different for your next contracting role? Contracting abroad could be an option to consider. To learn more about contracting in Germany, read this guide.
Do you need a Visa when contracting in Germany?
All persons remaining in Germany for longer than three months must have a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis), of which there are now two types. You can apply for one of them at the local Ausländerbehörde.
The rules for what you need to qualify for a residence permit vary from place to place and according to your status. You’ll certainly need a valid passport, proof that you have a place to live and proof that you can support yourself. Other things you may need to include is proof that you have a critical skill, proof that you are married, proof that you have independent means or a pension, and proof of health insurance (see below).
One person can handle the work on a residence permit for an entire family. Once the permit has been approved, an appropriate stamp is placed in the individual’s passport.
If you decide that you are going to stay in Germany you must have a registration certificate (Meldeschein). You get it at the Registry Office (Einwohnermeldeamt) that is responsible for your community or your city neighbourhood. It’s often located at a precinct police station. Registering is a simple matter of going there and filling out a form. They may want to see your passport and lease, so have them with you. There is no charge for this registration.
Every time you change your residence within Germany, whether you move next door or across the country, you must report this to the registry offices at both the old and new place of residence. This isn’t an action directed at foreigners. Germans must keep the police posted when they move, too.
The two types of residence permits are limited and unlimited. Persons with limited permits must leave the country after a certain period, though they can apply for an extension. With unlimited residence permits there is no such restriction.
Which of these permits you get, and indeed whether you get a permit at all, depends on the circumstances. Perhaps you come from a member state of the European Union. In this case, your right to reside in Germany is all but unlimited.
With the exception of EU-nationals, citizens of Switzerland and nationals of privileged countries (i.e. USA, Japan, Australia, Canada, South-Korea, Israel and New Zealand), all foreigners require an entry visa for a stay of more than three months, or stays during which they want to take up employment - for which a residence permit allowing them to work is necessary.
Working in Germany
Contractors in the EU are unlikely to need a visa when working in Germany.
How to get a German Residence Permit
There are a few options:
- Do it yourself
- Pay an agency to do it
- Ask your client if they can help you do it, some companies have dedicated departments
Applying for and obtaining a visa does take time, so plan accordingly. Also, note that the type of visa you apply for can affect future residency rights. Thoroughly investigate your options prior to applying.
To locate a German Embassy/Consulate in your country, use the Deutsche Auslandsvertretungen search engine function (in German) on the German Federal Foreign Office website.
More information, application forms, and fees related to Visas and entry into Germany can also be found on the German Federal Foreign Office website.
Contracting in Germany: Residency and Registering for Work
Registering for work in Germany
Citizens from EU countries have the status of Germans when it comes to working, though there is a seven-year transition period for the countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007.
If you come from a non-EU country, a category that includes the USA and Canada, you will most likely need a Work permit (Arbeitserlaubnis). If you’ve been offered a contract by a company in Germany, they can probably help you in getting a work permit.
Even if they don’t have critical skills there are certain cases under which a non-EU citizen is allowed to seek work. Family members of persons with critical skills can also seek work even if they don’t share those critical skills. This is a measure aimed at attracting those sought-after employees.
The issuing of work permits to non-Germans is handled by the Ausländerbehörde, the same office that issued your residence permit. To get the permit you will need a Meldebescheinigung certificate, an Auftenthaltserlaubnis, and a certificate from an employer saying they are willing to take you on.
If a work permit can be issued it will be for the duration of the residence permit and must be renewed when it expires. Work permits are for a particular job only, not employment in general. If you change jobs you’ll need to apply for a new work permit.
Registering for residency in Germany
You’ll be treated as a non-resident from the day after you leave the UK if:
- You go to work away permanently.
- Your work lasts a whole tax year.
- You visit the UK less than 183 days which means you are away more than 183 days.
Citizens from the EU and Switzerland EU citizens do need a resident permit but not a work permit for Germany. EU citizens are, however, required to register within seven days their address with the authorities, as is required of all Germans by state law, in case they will stay more than three months in Germany. When registering their address, EU citizens typically provide information about their right to freedom of movement (e.g. as employed persons). The address registry authority forwards this information to the immigration authority, which issues a certificate of free movement (EU-Freizuegigkeitsbescheinigung).
To register at the local Registration Office (Einwohnermeldeamt). In most German “Bundesländer”, the requirement is within 7 days, however, in Schleswig-Holstein, Sachsen, Brandenburg, and Berlin – you have to register within two weeks. Rheinland-Pfalz– you have to register “unverzüglich” or immediately. If you are staying in a hotel and have not yet found a permanent residence, it is possible in some circumstances to register with the hotel address. Most registration offices, however, will require a permanent address.
Please note that nationals of the new member states are still required to obtain a work permit if they wish to take up employment in Germany.
In principle, non-EU-spouses or dependants of EU nationals are required to obtain an entry visa at the German embassy or consulate of their home country if they wish to join them.
The most common method is for the foreign national to start the application process by filing a long-stay visa application at the German Embassy/Consulate in their home country. To locate a German Embassy/Consulate in your country, use the Deutsche Auslandsvertretungen search engine function (in German) on the German Federal Foreign Office website.
After submitting the long-stay visa application, the German Embassy/Consulate will send the foreign national’s file to the local Aliens’ Office (Ausländeramt) that retains jurisdiction over the location where the employee will take up their future residence in Germany. The application process can take up to 3 months to process.
Depending upon the prospective position and the qualifications of the foreign national, the Aliens’ Office (Ausländeramt) will consult with the regional employment agency to determine whether a residence title for the purpose of employment should be issued. This is largely dependent on the prospective position and the qualifications of the foreign national applying.
Upon arrival, the foreign national is still required to register with the residents’ registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt) located at the local city hall with jurisdiction over the municipality in which the foreign national’s residence in Germany is located. After the registration has been completed, the foreign national must submit the residence/work permit application to the local alien’s office. The residence/work permit application will usually be issued within a couple of business days.
What information do I need when I apply for residency in Germany?
The following information and documentation are often required when applying:
- A passport with at least two blank pages & valid for at least another six months.
- Two recent biometric passport photographs.
- Proof of health insurance.
- Your residence registration (Anmeldebestätigung).
- Proof of means of support (often a letter from an employer); students or non-employed must show proof of adequate financial resources (Finanzierungsnachweis – approximately 700 euros/month).
- Evidence of the employee’s qualification (CV and copies of university diploma).
- Detailed job description related to the employee’s position including remuneration and job title.
In general, residence and work permits will be issued for a period of one year and can be extended according to the employment contract of the applicant.
Being employed in Germany
Arbeitnehmerüberlassungsgesetz (AUG Licence) is the law which regulates the business of one company transferring its employees to work temporarily with another. Contractors and Recruiters from the UK and others will look for this licence.
Many end-clients are reluctant to deal with and engage a contractor unless the employer holds an AUG licence. This reluctance stems from the risk of the contractor declaring himself to be an employee of that end client and in that event if there is any tax or social security liability owed, the end-client may be found liable for any outstanding sums.
Lohnsteuerkarte – A Tax Card issued by the city/regional authority where you are registered as living.
You should also ask to be issued with a Wage/Income tax card (Lohnsteuerkarte). This is an important document and you should make a note of the wage tax number allocated to you. This should be used in all correspondence with the authorities in Germany. Please forward the Lohnsteuerkarte to Caroola at your earliest convenience as we will need it for the purpose of deducting income and social security taxes.
De-Registration. Please note that when you leave Germany, you will also be required to de-register at the local registration office. Further details can be provided on this if required nearer the time if appropriate.
Tax Rates in Germany
Home to Europe’s largest economy, and the fourth largest in the world, Germany has a population of over 80 million. It also provides an impressive range of job opportunities.
Research shows that in Germany, 1.27% of people work in agriculture, 27.13% work in industry, and the remaining 71.6% work in the service industries.
We’ve taken a closer look at how German working practices and tax rates differ to those in the UK.
German Working Practices
Working hours: Working hours and breaks are governed by the Arbeitszeitgesetz (law on working hours), collective wage agreements and company agreements, or are arranged on an individual basis.
Standard hours: The working week varies between 36 to 40 hours, with most full-time jobs either seven or eight hours per day, five days a week. Work on Sundays is largely prohibited, except for workers in the service industry.
‘Flexi-time’. Many companies in Germany will allow you to work flexibly, this can include working from home, and compressed hours.
Overtime: This must conform to the maximum working hours of no more than 60 hours per week, averaging out to 48 hours over six months. Overtime is usually compensated with time off in lieu of additional pay.
Holidays and leave: The minimum statutory holiday entitlement is 20 days, based on a five-day working week. On a six-day working week, this rises to 24 days. It is not uncommon for an employer to grant additional holidays. Employees are entitled to holiday pay; this is calculated based on their average salary of the 13 weeks before the holiday is taken.
Sick leave: In the event of illness, an employee must inform the employer as soon as possible. In the case of illness lasting longer than three days, an employee must submit a doctor’s certificate no later than the following working day.
Parental leave: Parents are free to decide themselves how much parental leave they wish to take. It can be taken at any point between your child’s birth and their third birthday. With the permission of your employer, you can also save up to 24 months of parental leave to be used between your child’s second and seventh birthdays.
Public holidays: 1 January, 6 January, 21 March, 24 March, 1 May, 12 May, 22 May, 15 August, 3 October, 31 October, 1 November, 19 November and 25-26 December.
The 183-day rule in Germany
Your treatment will depend on your residency and the duration of your work assignment.
If you are in the country for 183 days or more in any calendar year, or for an average of 90 days in any four-year period, you are deemed to be a tax resident.
Tax rates in Germany (2020-21)
As you leave the UK, you should complete the P85 form and send this to HMRC.
Personal Tax Rates in Germany
Up to €9,408
€9,409 – €57,051
€57,052 – €270,500
€270,501 and over
Additional taxes include:
- Solidarity surcharge (Solidaritaetszuschlag), capped at 5.5% of your income tax
- Church tax (8% – 9%), if you are a member of a registered church in Germany
In Germany, for tax purposes, you are either a resident or a non-resident. If you have been present in Germany for over 183 days, you are generally considered to be a resident for tax purposes. The 183-day rule is not the only consideration for a tax residence. If you are a non-resident for tax purposes, you will generally still be liable to pay tax on German-sourced income. The rate may vary; tax and double taxation agreements may alter it. There are 6 tax classes that you may fall into, each one with varying rates:
- Those single or separated, but not falling into either categories 2 or 3
- Single and separated, with a child, entitling them to a child’s allowance
- Married, or widowed employees who are within the first year of a spouse’s death
- Married employees both receiving income
- Married persons who would normally fall into category 4, but whose spouse is in tax class 3
- Employees who receive income from other employment on one or more different tax cards
As well as this, you may either be a salaried employee or a Freiberufler (independent professional: e.g. doctors, architects or contractors). For salaried employees, tax and social insurance are deducted by the employer. Contractors must pay the tax department their tax obligations throughout the year.
Social Security and Employee Benefits in Germany
Expatriates can take advantage of the generous German social security benefits, while living here and even, in some cases, when they return home.
Germany has an elaborate social security system that sees to it that its citizens live comfortably even if they’re sick, disabled, unemployed or retired. Expatriates can also participate in the system to a large degree.
By law, employees contribute towards the scheme, and the percentage they pay is matched by their employer. The Social Security Rate for Employees currently stands at 19.63%, and covers the following:
- Pension insurance
- Unemployment insurance
- Health insurance
- Nursing insurance for disability and old age
Other pillars of the social security system include company accident insurance, which is paid for by the employer, and social indemnity which is handled by the state.
Health Insurance in Germany
How to cover your medical expenses in Germany
Your first priority when coming to Germany should be health insurance. Medication, doctors, and hospitals are extremely expensive, so you must make sure that you are covered for sickness and emergencies.
In addition, you will typically not get a residency permit without proof of adequate insurance. Health insurance is also mandatory for all employees and students in Germany, so you will not be able to start working or studying without it.
In 2007, there were some 200 000 persons living in Germany without health insurance coverage. With the health insurance reform of 2007, the German government implemented an insurance law which makes insurance mandatory for everybody living in Germany. When living in Germany, this law will also apply to you.
There is an EU agreement which guarantees free medical treatment for EU citizens in Germany. Since the 1st June 2004, European citizens who are traveling within the European Economic Area (EEA) are given a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which simplifies the procedure when receiving medical assistance during their stay in a Member State. The European Health Insurance Card replaces forms E111 and E111B, E110, E128, and E119. However, if you wish to take up long-term residence in Germany, you must exchange the card for a local health insurance scheme.
Health insurance contributions are split 50-50 between employers and employees, regardless of whether you opt for a statutory or private insurance scheme. Students are offered special student insurance schemes with favourable rates. Note that health insurance in Germany is part of the social security system.
Statutory and private health insurance in Germany
In Germany, there are two parallel health insurance systems:
- State health insurance is run by the German government. Most foreigners (and Germans as well) are obliged to take out state health insurance.
- Private health insurance can be chosen in some specific cases. It generally offers more extensive coverage but is not automatically an advantage for all cases.
Almost everyone can join the state insurance scheme, but only a few people are allowed to leave this system for private insurance. To work out which insurance scheme fits is best for you, follow these steps:
- Find out whether you can choose between private and public insurance. If you’re obliged to join the state system, it is irrelevant to compare it with private insurance. To find out whether the state system is mandatory for you, have a look at our information below.
- If you are allowed to take private health insurance, you should compare the advantages and disadvantages of both systems before making a final decision.
Although this is complicated, take the time to analyse your situation in order to make the right decision. Our health insurance guide will lead you to step by step through this decision process.
When is state health insurance mandatory?
As of 2007, state health insurance was compulsory for the following groups:
- In 2019, the general annual income limit for mandatory state insurance is 60,750 Euros per year, or 5,063 Euros per month.
- Students at state and state-approved universities.
- People on work experience (internships) or in secondary education.
- Old-age pensioners who have been in a statutory health insurance scheme or insured as a family member for most of the latter half of their working life.
- Unemployed people receiving benefits from Federal Employment Services (with some exceptions).
You can within a period of three months join a state health insurance scheme voluntarily if you:
- Have been a compulsory member, your membership is terminated and you have certain qualifying insurance periods.
- Are an employee and your income in your first job exceeds the limit, as long as you apply for membership within three months of starting work.
- Are severely disabled (subject to certain other requirements).
- Have been insured through a family member for a specific minimum period and this insurance has expired.
Students from countries with which Germany has concluded a social security agreement that includes an insurance clause can continue to be covered by their home insurance company while they are in Germany. For further information, inquire at your institution’s International Office. In such cases, you will be required to present proof of insurance coverage to the health insurance company in Germany.
The Federal Ministry for Health and Social Security offers detailed information on statutory insurance in different languages at https://www.bundesgesundheitsministerium.de
Who can opt for private health insurance?
In theory, everybody not in the categories above can choose a private insurance scheme. However, once you’ve opted out of the state insurance scheme, it can be very difficult to go back. Before you make this decision, you should therefore carefully compare the advantages and disadvantages of the two systems.
If you opt-out of statutory health insurance and cannot go back, the private insurance companies will be forced to offer you a basic tariff with the same fees as the statutory insurance from 2009.
Contracting in Belgium
Are you thinking about contracting abroad? If you're looking for your next opportunity a bit further afield, Belgium could be a good location to consider.
Working in Belgium
All work is in Belgium governed by the Federal Parliament and then Local Labour Courts. Collective Bargaining is the key mechanism by which labor standards are established and maintained.
A multi-industry agreement that creates a formal framework for all collective agreements is concluded every two years. Additionally, several industry agreements exist and many are extended by royal decree to become generally binding to all employees in a particular sector or geographical area.
Main industries in Belgium
Most industries are concentrated around the region of Flanders and the capital city, Brussels. Some of the biggest industries in Belgium are:
- Agriculture - this is due to a large amount of fertile land in Belgium.
- Manufacturing - most manufacturing activity takes place in the Eastern regions and makes up for around one-third of the country's GDP.
- Financial services - since a large number of local and foreign banks are located in Brussels, finance is one of the country's main industries.
All economic activities are divided into branches or sectors and about 150 different sectors are officially recognised. Their legal framework is provided by joint committees in which both employers and employees have representation. These committees draw up Collective Labour Agreements, binding for all those in their sector.
These agreements are important as they can override individual agreements between employer and employee. These agreements define minimum salaries, working hours and many other things.
Working practices in Belgium
Working hours do not normally exceed 40 hours per week, though 38 hours is the norm and most Belgium employees do not take paid leave during the first year of their employment
Most workers then become entitled to 20 days of paid holiday per annum.
There are as many as 10 public holidays per year – so slightly more than in the UK.
The minimum working age is 18 years setting aside apprenticeship contracts.
What your contract should state:
If you are employed your contract should clearly set out:
- The name and address of your employer
- The dates – start and finish of your assignment arrangement
- A description of your work
- Your pay and method of calculation
- The length of any probationary period agreed
- The hours of work
Do I need a visa to work in Belgium?
Citizens of full European (EU, EFTA, EEA) member countries are able to live and work without a visa or work permit. You will just need to register at a local town hall upon arrival and undergo a police check before you can begin working.
Belgium is a member of the SCHENGEN countries which are: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. With a SCHENGEN visa, you may enter one country and travel freely throughout the SCHENGEN zone.
Can I work through my UK limited company in Belgium?
The length of your stay in Belgium will depend on whether you can work through your limited company. This is known as the 183-day rule.
If you are in the country for 183 days or more in any calendar year or for an average of 90 days in any four year period, you are deemed to be tax resident and will, therefore, be liable for Belgian taxes.
Travelling days are normally excluded and only full days spent in the country are calculated. However, in the UK, the time you spend travelling is a consideration when abroad and there are limits. This test is only really a problem for you if you intend to work in Belgium as a self-employed person and pay your taxes in your home country. If you work under a LIMOSA declaration (see LIMOSA declarations below), or via your UK limited company on assignment, this is unlikely to be something to concern you.
Deductions from your salary in Belgium
Deductions from your gross salary in Belgium include:
Social Security System Contributions – the amount payable will be equal to 13.07% of your gross salary. It is deducted from your salary by your employer. Employed contractors will pay both employers and employees contributions and both are calculated on your full gross income.
Sickness and Maternity Benefits include benefits in kind to include medical and dental treatment, hospitalisation and cash benefits such as work accidents payouts, disability benefits, old-age pensions, survivor’s pension, unemployment benefits, and child allowance.
Health Insurance – (which includes preventative and curative care) – a worker must choose a mutual benefit association or register and pay contributions to a supplementary health insurance fund.
If you arrive from a country with which Belgium has concluded a social security agreement, you must have been covered by a health insurance scheme of the relevant member country for at least six months prior to joining.
Sickness Insurance is compulsory for everyone. If you see a Doctor in Belgium you will almost certainly have to pay in full for this at the time of treatment or consultation. The health scheme will then refund some of the cost once it receives a document from the Doctor.
When you start work you become entitled to Family Allowances in Belgium unless you have the right to receive these in another country.
Under your Employment Contract, you immediately become entitled to have medical expenses refunded through The Sickness Fund. However, you do not become eligible for replacement income until the minimum 6m period of insurability within the EEA has elapsed. You remain insured by your country of residence if you are in receipt of unemployment benefits when you arrive in Belgium.
It may be possible for you to continue to pay your NICs here in the UK. What used to be called an E101 can be completed by Caroola on your behalf allowing you to continue paying UK NICs.
Short periods of work do not normally carry pension rights.
A DIMONA is a declaration of staff entering and leaving the country
A LIMOSA declaration is now only required if you are not a resident in Belgium. If you are a resident, which means you have registered for an ID card at the local Commune, then you will automatically receive a tax return. LIMOSA was designed to mop up those workers who received cash for their work and avoided paying taxes.
The Social Trap – If you work in Belgium as a self-employed person and stay for a longer duration during the first two years you are unlikely to pay any Social Security there but this is not the answer for you – the system will catch up with you. The AVIS de REGULARISATION demands you pay any shortfall by the end of a calendar year and if you fail to do this then they charge 10% interest monthly. Therefore it is vital to pay from day one and avoid the trap altogether.
Personal tax rates in Belgium
The 2020/21 tax rates in Belgium are as follows:
Between €0 and €13,440
Between €13,440 and €23,720
Between €23,720 and €41,060
The additional tax is payable on taxpayers resident in a Belgian area which is between 5-8.5% of the income tax payable above. In addition, you also have to pay up to 15% of the dividend income earned from a foreign company. So if your UK limited company pays you a dividend as a director and you are on a local assignment in Belgium, you have to declare the said dividend.
The only way to work in Belgium is to declare all of your Belgium source income. The only legal way to mitigate your taxes and Social Security is to maintain your centre of economic interest in the UK or in another country and pay yourself a small salary working for your own limited company ensuring all remaining income is properly declared through your company.
Contracting in the Netherlands
Registration in the Netherlands
You will need (by law) Health Insurance (30,000 euros) for the Netherlands. This is the first priority, as you cannot move on to register as required without valid health insurance.
Registration takes place at the Municipal Administration of the town in the Netherlands where you are going to live and work. You will register as you arrive to work in The Netherlands; it is wise to contact this office before you leave the UK. This will enable you to produce the correct list of documents when you arrive.
If you are planning to work in the Netherlands, it is compulsory to register with the BRP within the first five days of your arrival there. You will need to provide either your permanent home address or a correspondence address in the Netherlands where you will be living while you are working there. This address is needed at this early stage, which may prove to be difficult.
To register, you must present a legal birth certificate, your passport, evidence of your marital status, and possibly more documents depending on your background and country of origin.
When you leave the Netherlands, you should also advise the BRP of this fact. Your unique Tax and Social Insurance Number (or sofinummer), now referred to as a Citizen’s Service Number (or burgerservicenummer (BSN)) will be issued to you at this time. The number is crucial as it allows for the exchange of personal information between various government agencies.
The Immigration Service
The Immigration Service or IND manages immigration and residence permits. Having first registered with the BRP, you are also required to register at the IND. They can be contacted to make an appointment on 31 208893045 / in the country on 09001234561.
If you are to contract for more than three months this is compulsory as well.
The IND will seek to know the purpose of your visit to the Netherlands and you should provide full details of your work assignment or contract on the telephone. They will then send you a form to your UK home address for completion. You will then be informed clearly what documents you must bring along.
Your passport will be marked with a Certificate from the IND if you register successfully there. This entitles you to stay in The Netherlands for as long as you wish. Unlike the BRP, you need not inform the IND when you leave the country. A permanent residence certificate can be gained after five years.
30% Ruling in the Netherlands
Contractors may qualify for a tax benefit, namely the Netherlands 30% Ruling which is a tax-free allowance of 30% of gross earnings. Strict criteria are applied by the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.
If you are successful and are granted the ruling or award, this means that you are NOT entitled to submit your business expenses as well to enable further reductions of tax.
This allowance encourages specialists who may be hard to find locally, calling for specific expertise to be eligible for the allowance.
Netherlands tax and background
- The population is circa 16.3m.
- The major language is Dutch; English and is not always spoken everywhere.
- It is a prosperous and open economy, which depends heavily on foreign trade.
- The economy has stable industrial relations, low unemployment and inflation, a sizeable current account surplus and a very vital role in European transport. Industrial activity is predominantly in food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining, electrical machinery and fishing. A highly mechanized agricultural sector employs no more than 3% of the labour force but provides large surpluses for export. It is one of Europe’s leading nations and attracts foreign investment.
- Standard hours by law are a maximum of 9 per day and 45 in a week.
- There is a fairly rigid system of statutory rights and obligations.
- There are as many as nine statutory bank holidays.
Work permits, Visas and Taxes
Citizens of full European (EFTA, EEA) Member Countries are able to live and work in The Netherlands without a visa or work permit. The Netherlands is a member of the 15 SCHENGEN treaty countries, making the movement of people easy and even encouraged.
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