SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Netherlands should be able to decide how many migrant workers it allows into the country from eastern and central Europe, according to two Dutch political parties.
ChristenUnie from the government coalition and the opposition Socialists want to make it possible for the Netherlands to agree deals with Poland, Romania and Bulgaria about how many and what type of worker should be allowed to come and work here.
‘Ukranians are replacing Poles. Poles, sometimes working in poor conditions, are replacing the Dutch. And people on welfare benefits are being written off,’ ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers said on Twitter.
The plan would not conflict with EU rules on the free movement of people because of a clause which allows countries to intervene if there is a threat of ‘social disruption’, the parties say.
Currently some 250,000 people from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria work in the Netherlands, often doing poorly paid work on short term contracts. Segers and his SP counterpart Lilian Marijnissen argue that some employers are taking advantage of migrant workers by paying low wages and offering poor working conditions.
Workers from Poland, Romania and other eastern and central European countries earn the lowest wages of all immigrant groups, according to research from national statistics office CBS published earlier this year.
Some 80% of the 180,000 Polish nationals working in the Netherlands earn less than €15 per hour and 18% of them earn less than €10, the CBS said.
Earlier this year, ABN Amro economists warned that many eastern Europeans in the Netherlands will leave because the economies in their home countries are growing and wages there are rising.
In particular, the farming sector, manufacturing, construction and transport will be hit because companies in these sectors are already feeling the impact of the shortage of workers. The official Dutch unemployment rate is currently below 4%. Segers and Marijinissen plan to publish more details about their plans after the summer break.