Closed border no solution for illegality

27th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

27 March 2007, AMSTERDAM – Keeping the border closed to workers from the Eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 will not solve problems with illegal aliens and housing, Minister for Social Affairs Piet Heing Donner said today. Nor does he expect a large influx of Eastern Europeans if it becomes easier for them to get work permits in all sectors.

27 March 2007

AMSTERDAM – Keeping the border closed to workers from the Eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 will not solve problems with illegal aliens and housing, Minister for Social Affairs Piet Heing Donner said today. Nor does he expect a large influx of Eastern Europeans if it becomes easier for them to get work permits in all sectors.

Paul Ulenbelt of the Socialist party SP called Donner to Parliament today. There is currently only a relaxed regime in place for these workers in sectors with a demonstrated shortage of personnel. Donner said he did not know when Eastern Europeans would be able to enter the Netherlands without a work permit.

The minister pointed out that Parliament first wanted him to determine who was responsible for (un)safe labour conditions if companies work with subcontractors. There was commotion earlier this year after a Dutch concrete company passed on the responsibility for a fatal accident involving a Polish worker to a Polish subcontractor.

But Ulenbelt said there were other problems that need to be solved before the borders can be opened to Eastern European workers. The SP MP said Donner should listen to the municipalities. The four large cities said on Monday that the borders should not be opened to these workers until problems with illegal housing were sorted.

But the Christian democrat CDA minister responded that all the measures which Parliament requested have been taken to make employers responsible for decent housing for their foreign personnel.

Donner said he had taken the municipalities' concerns into consideration.

He and Minister for Living, Neighbourhoods and Integration Ella Vogelaar talked with alderman Marnix Norder in The Hague last week about problems in the large cities.

It was agreed that the government would look into whether it could help the cities combat illegal housing. Donner said that Eastern Europeans needing shelter might be housed for instance in empty buildings of the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA).

The employers represented in the VNO-NCW want the borders opened as soon as possible. They say waiting any longer will be bad for the economy.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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