Rotterdam gets 12,000 unemployed back to work faster than planned

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Rotterdam helped 12 thousand unemployed people back to work six months before the city's self-set deadline to do so, Rotterdam alderman Maarten Struijvenberg announced. "The objective of our college was to achieve this result in four years. We did it six months earlier", he said on Tuesday, AD reports.

Struijvenberg attributes the faster than expected results to the hard work of the officials at the city's Employment and Income Service. "Our employees are increasingly successful in guiding Rotterdammers from unemployment benefits and supporting them in finding paid work. I am extremely proud." he said.

Despite this success, Rotterdam is still the major Dutch city with relatively the most residents on welfare. The city currently has 39,393 people on welfare, an increase compared to the 36,695 welfare recipients in the city at the start of 2014. According to the alderman, the increase can partly be attributed to external forces - such as the increase in the retirement age and the large number of asylum seekers that arrived in the country in 2015. 

He feels Rotterdam is doing well. "In Rotterdam, the number of people on welfare rose by only 1.1 percent last year. By comparison: in Amsterdam the increase was 2.7 percent, and that was still below the national average. So we are far below it", he said, according to the newspaper. 

An estimated 20 percent of the 12 thousand newly employed people will likely be back on welfare in the near future. Struijvenberg points out that the previous return rate was 40 percent. "We put a lot of effort, time and money into guiding people to work. It involves a six month contract. If someone can not continue to work, that is a pity. But then he or she has been off welfare for half a year and gained work experience."

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