Expats in NL worried about work, mental health during pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic was a blow to most everyone, and it especially affected the expat community in the Netherlands, according to a survey by the International Community Advisory Platform (ICAP) among 2,350 people from 104 different countries living in the Netherlands. Expats are worried about their work and income, and feel lonely and isolated.
The survey showed that around a quarter of international workers considered leaving the Netherlands because of the coronavirus, though the majority ended up staying. 24 percent of respondents said they knew of "one or two" expats who did leave the country, but most only knew of people who decided to stay in the Netherlands.
64 percent of international workers said they worried about the impact of the pandemic on their income. Three in ten said their jobs were under pressure, and one in ten already lost work.
This uncertainty, combined with isolation brought on by travel restrictions, also took a toll on expats' mental health, with many reporting feeling lonely and isolated. The lockdown and social restrictions especially impacted people who only recently came to the Netherlands, as it left them with few to no opportunities to build a social- and support structure.
Travel restrictions also left many international workers isolated from their families and friends back home. Over a quarter said they were worried about their loved ones back home.
"Coronavirus has drastically slowed our integration into Dutch society as it is more difficult to socialize, practice Dutch and build up our network outside the expat community," one respondent said to the researchers. Another called it "heartbreaking" that their kids haven't seen their grandparents for a whole year.
74 percent of respondents said the coronavirus impacted their mental well-being. 15 percent said they are uncertain where to turn for help. Only 2 percent of people reported getting help from their employers, according to ICAP.