Ravi, an IT entrepreneur, has been living in the Netherlands for a few years. In 2006, having studied in the United States, he decided to settle in Europe for a few years. Ravi: "As an IT professional, there are numerous opportunities. I sought out companies in Scandinavia but also Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands. I chose Amsterdam principally because the quality of life appealed to me but also because English is accepted as the language on the work-floor here." Ravi came to work at a company in the IT technology sector and was issued with a permit as a highly skilled migrant. He quickly realised, however, that he wanted to remain in the Netherlands so he set up his own software development company. His company supplies IT services to national and international customers.
Ravi is delighted about how encouraging the Dutch government is in terms of highly skilled migrants and entrepreneurs. "The Dutch-American Friendship Treaty offers a wide range of advantages. It offers an opportunity for entrepreneurs to obtain a residence permit but also many more benefits. It enables you to apply for subsidies and lets you easily convert your American driving license into a Dutch one, to name but a few", says Ravi with a smile.
Ravi has now been living and working in Amsterdam for eight years; "I can cycle to work and I absolutely love that. I enjoy the rich cultural life that Amsterdam offers too." Ravi has also lived in Washington and New York City. "Compared to New York, life in the Netherlands is nice and peaceful. The pace of life is a lot slower." As an American of Indian origin, Ravi feels strongly connected to the Indian culture. I now have a home in India and a home in New York, where most of my family lives. I also have a house in the Netherlands."
Ravi has had various residence permits. First, he was salaried and then he became a self-employed entrepreneur; later his permit was changed to a permanent residence permit. "To be honest, every interaction with the IND was pleasant and effective", says Ravi. "I found the employees to be professional and helpful. Some things are complicated though when you are new to the country, including knowing which form of healthcare insurance you need for which residence permit. Sometimes I could have done with a manual for immigrants that wanted to settle here." In actual fact, there is only one improvement that Ravi could suggest: dual nationality. If you wish to become a Dutch citizen, you have to give up your own nationality. Ravi: "If it was possible for highly skilled migrants to retain their nationality, the Netherlands would be even more appealing for this type of migrant."