Meet the Partner: HBK expat consultants

25 May 2020

Recently, we sat down with Saskia Hemmes and Daniel van den Helder from HBK expat consultants to discuss how HBK helps expats in the region, why it's important to support local expat communities, and tips and tricks for living in the Leiden region.

Tell us a little bit more about what HBK expat consultants do

HBK expat consultants is a part of HBK tax advisers – accountants - expat consultants. With over 20 years of expertise in the field of global mobility, immigration and international social security, we advise and facilitate organizations and individuals that operate across national borders. This may concern international tax, immigration and social security issues. Our services range from advising on complex international tax and social security issues to expatriate payroll services, the preparation of Dutch income tax returns, applications for a 30% ruling, A1 statements, applications for residence permits and other related services.

Saskia Hemmes is one of the partners at HBK who advises on cross-border employment. “My career started as an advisor at EY, one of the so-called “Big-Four” offices, where I learned the tricks of the trade many years ago. I have been using this knowledge and experience now for more than 10 years at HBK where we serve a wide range of clients, from multinationals to private individuals. With the size of this office and the freedom and flexibility that we have here, we can really free up time for our customers, large or small, whether they are experienced players or starters on the international playing field. ” Within HBK there are of course more professionals with knowledge and experience in global mobility. One of these advisers is Daniel van den Helder. Daniel has been working at HBK since last year and is also specialized in expat tax and social security advice. “During my Master's degree in Tax Law, I also started my working life at a Big-Four office where I worked for 12.5 years. Last year I switched to HBK in the position of Global Mobility tax, social security & immigration specialist. I'm glad I took this step. As a small player within this niche, we can make a substantial difference. We have a great amount of knowledge, and as a relative small office, we are flexible and are able to really partner with our customers. Our international network does help with that, of course. "

Why do you think is important to offer services to the expats in the region?

Leiden is internationalizing at a rapid pace. In addition, the largest Bio Science park in the Netherlands is in Leiden. More than 100 organizations are established in the Leiden Bio Science Park, almost all of which operate internationally and offer employment to foreign employees. HBK can help these organizations and expats with all immigration, (international) tax and social security issues and relieve concerns that businesses and individuals have in these areas.

Certainly in these challenging times, with the world being faced with COVID-19 and the consequences this has for cross-border working & global mobility, we can really add value for companies facing complex issues with employees all of a sudden working from home in another country or assignments that are suddenly discontinued. Keeping the Leiden region attractive to foreign knowledge workers is of the utmost importance for all of us, and we can guide these companies and employees through these issues.

How long have you been partnering up with the ECL, and how did it help you/your company to reach more expats?

We have been partnering up with the Expat Centre Leiden since 2017 and ever since we feel that we are part of a community that has an important joint goal: facilitating international employees and their employers with settling-in in the Leiden region. We all know how complicated and non-transparent this process can be if you are new in the Netherlands or do not have extensive experience with employing international employees. The settling-in process covers many areas, tax & immigration being only one of these. We welcome that the Expat Centre Leiden has bundled access to all these services. This is of added value to the clients as well as the service-providers who are partners of the Expat Centre Leiden.

Do you have any advice/tips for internationals living in the region?

Certainly! Historically, Leiden and the region have welcomed internationals. It has always been and still is a melting pot of locals, internationals, students, professionals, and scientists. All these groups mingle during many of Leiden’s festivals and festivities. It is a pity that COVID-19 limits us all in enjoying these events, but we are convinced that better times lie ahead of us. When the time comes, do not miss out on the “Drie Oktober”-festivities, “Lakenfeesten” and “Leiden Culinair”!