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Comment Re:The Netherlands (Score 5, Informative) 2349

I had to reply to this. I'm an American living in Noord-Brabant, and have had exactly the opposite experience you apparently have. I moved here to be with my boyfriend under "family formation." I hold an MA degree and have an extensive professional background. I have been here 18 months, and have had nothing but hassles with the Dutch immigration system. The residence and work permits that are legally required to be processed in less than 6 months took 10.5, and when I did receive my first permit, it was good for a whole 6 weeks before I had to have a renewal. The renewal took a further 3.5 months, and I was not allowed to work or even seek work until July of this year (14 months after I moved here.) I am required by law to take Dutch language and integration courses. If I attend less than 80%, I am fined by the government. If I fail to attend, I risk deportation. These aren't facts I picked up from the internet- I was informed of this when I went to my first meeting with the city after (finally) receiving my permits. I could not trade my US license for a Dutch one- though I have been driving since 1988 in the US, I had to take costly lessons, a theory exam, and a practical exam before getting my Dutch drivers' license. The CBR (drivers' branch) informed me of this, and it was long and costly. I am not in IT, and though I have a solid professional background, job agencies tell me that the only jobs they can get me into are at call centers, for about 30% of my last income and less than I lived off of while going through college (gross, not net.) If you're in IT it is a lot easier to deal with the IND, but your company will be your sponsor and if you don't stay with that company, or don't change the paperwork and have your new company become your legal sponsor, you can and will be deported. The man's lucky we have a good relationship, or I would have headed back to the US a long time ago.

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