Cabinet Positive On Immigration From Poland

Cabinet Positive On Immigration From Poland

THE HAGUE, 18/06/08

The cabinet is positive on the labour migration from Central and Eastern European countries. Their labour is needed, and there is no question of supplanting Dutch workers, according to a study sent to the Lower House by Social Affairs minister Piet Hein Donner.

“The Netherlands sorely needs the workers from the CEE countries – who acceded to the EU in 2004 – to get the work done in, for example, agriculture and horticulture, building and transport,” according to Donner. “Dutch labour is hardly or not at all supplanted by the labour migrants. Employers do experience some displacement in the short term, but this cannot be demonstrated objectively.”

The number of labour migrants in the Netherlands from the countries that joined the EU in 2004 is not rising further, according to Donner. “In April 2008, there were an estimated minimum of 100,000, the same as in November 2007. If only employees in salaried jobs are looked at, then there were (…) at least 75,256 employees at end March, of whom 90 percent were from Poland.”

Labour migration from Romania and Bulgaria, which joined the EU in 2007, has increased slightly. “In 2007, 3,654 work permits were issued, compared with 3,005 in 2006. These included 2,659 Romanians and 995 Bulgarians. In the first four months of 2008, this uptrend continued: the Centre for Work and Income (CWI) provided 1,427 work permits in this period (1,129 Romanians and 295 Bulgarians). In 905 cases, these were permits for work in horticulture.”

Next week, the cabinet will discuss with unions and employer organisations the question of whether the borders for Romanians and Bulgarians should be opened completely from 1 January 2009. Unlike the countries that joined the EU in 2004, they now still have to have a work permit.