Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in A...
Latest Dutch legislation changes: wages, mortgages & pets02 July 2014, by Alexandra Gowling
The Dutch government carries out changes to legislation at the start of every July. Here is a list of those which may affect your life in the Netherlands.
Leglislation changes in the Netherlands from July 2014
From household costs and benefits to laws affecting migrants and pets, there's a broad spead of small but significant changes.
Energy is getting cheaper, by an average of 35 euros on a yearly basis. In any case, energy bills have already been lower this year, as the mild winter has saved people hundreds of euros.
Telephone and internet throughout Europe has also become cheaper. A one minute call now costs up to 23 cents, instead of 29 cents, receiving a call costs 6 cents per minute, 2 cents less than before, and a text now costs 7 cents, down from 10 cents.
Even internet on mobile phones is cheaper, as the maximum rate has dropped from 54 cents to a maximum of 24 cents per MB. Roaming charges are also in the firing line.
Wages & benefits
The minimum wage and the youth minimum wage are both increasing to 8,63 euros gross an hour, a minimum monthly wage of 1.495,20 euros.
This means the amount for the unemployment benefit will also increase, as it is tied to the minimum wage.
The child allowance (kinderbijslag), on the other hand, will not go up as it has done previously twice a year. Now, the current amount will stay the same until 2016.
Some rules have been relaxed, however, such as that children aged 16 to 17 who had finished high school used to have to be registered as either in education or as seeking work, which is no longer necessary.
Rents & mortgages
Rents for social housing are likely to increase again: rent for people with incomes up to 34.085 euros may be increased by up to 4 per cent; for incomes between 34.085 and 43.602 the increase could be 4,5 per cent, while incomes over 43.602 euros could see an increase of up to 6,5 per cent.
If you are looking to buy a house with a Dutch and want to use the National Mortgage Guarantee, the price limit is now down to 265.000 euros. e
The one-off payment for moving expenses for immigrants who chose to repatriate (go back to their country of origin) has expired, while the conditions for obtaining a remigration benefit have also changed.
Following on from the decision to limit welfare benefits to by immigrants who do not speak a functional level of Dutch, the government has decided that municipalities will undertake to help people improve their command of Dutch to a level that meets the requirements under the Integration Act within a reasonable time.
Police & the law
The Dutch police are now able to step into sudden events faster to maintain public order. This includes brawls at a nightclub or fighting football hooligans near a train station.
In the case of Dutch citizens travelling outside the Netherlands, should they be the victim of a serious crime, Dutch criminal law can now be used. The police and the Public Prosecutors Office are now able to track and prosecute offenders abroad.
Transgender people are now able to have their sex changed on their passport in a simpler way. Previously they had to first go to court to have their birth certificates adjusted, but now all that is required is a statement from an expert.
Lastly, there are new rules for which mammals are suitable to be kept as pets. Acceptable animals include common pets such as cats, dogs and hamsters, and some less common ones including minks, red deer and water buffaloes.
Then there are those that can olny be kept under specific conditions, which includes camels, lemmings and wallabies. Finally, mammals that are no longer able to be kept at all include chinchillas, prairie dogs, kangaroos and zebras.
The list was drawn up by animal protection experts based on research from Wageningen University. The new rules will come into effect next year, but there will be a changeover period for those people who already own a banned animal. Lists governing animals other than mammals will appear in due course.