Worker exploitation reports prompt end to scheme to bring Asian chefs to Netherlands
The scheme that made it easier for Asian restaurants to bring chefs to the Netherlands will be eliminated at the start of next year, said Social Affairs Minister Karen van Gennip on Friday. The scheme, which has existed since 2019, was suspended last year after signs of abuse and exploitation emerged.
The Cabinet made the decision following a report from the Labor Inspectorate that stated that about half of all Asian catering establishments which were visited by inspectors were found to be in violation of the rules. A number of employers were involved in human trafficking and illegal employment, the inspectorate said.
The abuses came to light at the beginning of last year following an investigation by Trouw and De Groene Amsterdammer. Cooks were said to be exploited by employers in some cases, or the chefs paid a large sum of money to travel to the Netherlands for employment when in reality there was no work for them at all. There were also signs from Dutch delegations in China that the scheme was being abused.
The scheme was introduced because the Asian hospitality sector was faced with a shortage of specialized chefs. Restaurants
were given the opportunity to recruit staff from outside the European Union (EU) more easily.
Despite the disappearance of the scheme, it is still possible for the Asian hospitality sector to bring staff from outside the EU to
the Netherlands, but they now face similar restrictions as other industry sectors. This means that employers must first attempt to fill vacancies with personnel who are from the European Union before hiring someone from outside of the EU.