Donner fears decrease in East European workers
Social Affairs Minister Piet Hein Donner is concerned that the influx of Polish, Bulgarian and Romanian workers is levelling off.21 February 2008
ZWAAGDIJK – Social Affairs Minister Piet Hein Donner is concerned that the influx of Polish, Bulgarian and Romanian workers is levelling off.
Donner says more Poles and East Europeans are opting to stay in their home countries. He acknowledges that there are problems with issues like housing, but "we would have much more of a problem on the labour market if the Poles weren't here."
The Christian democrat CDA leader warned a meeting of 150 business owners and local leaders in the Noord-Holland town of Zwaagdijk on Wednesday that we "mustn't miss the boat." "That means that if we do not provide decent facilities and housing in the Netherlands, the businesses will have to move to Poland to have their work done there. Governments, employers and employees all have a vested interest in not letting the Dutch economy get to that point."
Donner said that the number of workers from Poland and other East European countries that have joined the EU since 2004 has not grown since the Dutch labour market was opened up to them in May 2007. 100,000 to 150,000 of these labour migrants have been working in the Netherlands since the border was opened, most of them Polish.
Bulgarians and Romanians, EU members since 2007, still need a work permit to work in the Netherlands. The Centre for Work and Income (CWI) issued 3,654 permits for workers from these countries last year, compared to 3,005 in 2006. Most of these labour migrants work in the agriculture and horticulture sectors.
Donner has not yet made a decision on opening the border to Bulgarians and Romanians. He first wants to see a report on labour migration, which is expected before the summer.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2008]
Subject: Dutch news