Some Dutch MPs looking to temporarily block entry to migrant workers
The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, is divided about labor migration - both the numbers and the desired approach to prevent the exploitation of migrant workers. Several parties want a (provisional) stop on migrant workers, including SP, ChirstenUnie, and PVV. The CDA believes that “the difficult debate” on whether limits should be set on the free movement of persons should be held in Europe.
Others, like the VVD and BBB, believe that efforts should be made to utilize the labor potential available in the Netherlands. According to Daan de Kort (VVD), there are over 1 million people with a disability and another 400,00 people on welfare who can be guided to work. The PVV agrees, with MP Micheil de Graaf adding the fisherman and farmers “who are being phased out by the Cabinet” to the list.
D66 and ChristenUnie think asylum seekers should be allowed to work more than the currently permitted 24 weeks per year.
The Kamer and the Minister agree that exploiting migrant workers is outrageous and must be stopped. But opinions differ about how to do this. Parliamentarians are also dissatisfied with the slowness with which Minister Karien van Gennip (Social Affairs and Employment) wants to tackle abuses.
Like the Kamer, Van Gennip wants to get a grip on labor migration. She is working on a vision of labor migration along several tracks. One of these is utilizing labor potential, and another is on what kind of economy the Netherlands wants to be. Many migrant workers work in distribution centers, for example. If the Dutch give up their desire to have ordered packages delivered quickly, that can make a difference in the staff needed, she said as an example.
Migrant workers’ working and living conditions must be improved, she stressed. “They are now often miserable, and that hurts me. It is unworthy of the Netherlands.” That concerns both employment and accommodation.
The Minister does not want to close the borders to migrant workers. She also doesn’t want to interfere with the free movement of persons, as it applies to people from the European Union, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, or Switzerland. Van Gennip is in favor of putting a stop to the free movement of third-country nationals - people of another nationality. She aims to arrange this in a European context.