Working conditions in NL pose major health risks to migrant workers
The working conditions in the Netherlands cause significant health risks for migrant workers, expertise center on health disparities Pharos concluded in a report published on Monday. Long working days, high production pressure, low income, physically demanding work, and precarious living conditions have severe consequences on their mental- and physical health, the researchers concluded, NRC reports.
Pharos surveyed 260 migrant workers, spoke intensively with 10 of them, and spoke to 18 professionals from healthcare and social services. The researchers found that migrant workers usually arrive in the Netherlands in good health, but that quickly deteriorates due to their working conditions.
Long working days leave migrant workers exhausted with no time or energy for social contact and relaxation after work. They have no time to exercise and earn too little to afford healthy products. They often go to work when sick because they fear losing their jobs. Many migrant workers are insured through an employment agency, which lapses if they don't have work. So they rarely go to a doctor if they're not actively employed. Many migrant workers don't speak Dutch, and some don't speak English. This means that they don't always know what exactly their insurance covers. So they postpone seeking help for fear of high costs, the researchers found.
"We expected in advance that there were abuses, but we did not know the impact on health was so great," Pharos researcher Inge Goorts said to the newspaper. "People are destroying themselves at work."
The researchers advised the government to better regulate occupational healthcare and employment agencies, and make sure that migrant workers get all the information they need about health and care providers and the rules for uninsured. Hiring more interpreters can help with this, the researchers said.