Dutch to open up labour market sector by sector

25th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

25 April 2006, AMSTERDAM — From 1 May a decision will be taken sector by sector whether to make it easier for expats from the eight new EU states in Central and Eastern Europe to work in the Netherlands.

25 April 2006

AMSTERDAM — From 1 May a decision will be taken sector by sector whether to make it easier for expats from the eight new EU states in Central and Eastern Europe to work in the Netherlands.

Employers and labour unions will be consulted about the number of vacancies in each of the 170 to 180 sectors of the Dutch economy to determine whether an influx of new workers will create difficulties, Social Affairs junior minister Henk van Hoof said in a letter sent to parliament on Tuesday.

This is the latest climb-down by Van Hoof who has been pushing hard in recent months to fully open up the labour market to workers from all the states that joined the EU in 2004. Twice before he announced his plans were about to be sanctioned, only for the cabinet and MPs to rein him in.

As things stand employers have to show they can't find a Dutch person or a citizen of one of the other EU states in order to obtain a work permit to hire an expat from one of the eight new EU states. Citizens of Malta and Cyrus do not face the restrictions.

Tuesday's compromise is intended to calm concerns in several sectors, including the construction and transport industries, that cheaper labour from the east will displace Dutch workers. In the Dutch media this challenge comes from “Polish” workers, but this shorthand for an expat worker from any of the eight states.

MPs of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's Christian Democrats have teamed up with main the opposition Labour party to block Van Hoof. Only Van Hoof's own Liberal Party and the small D66 support full liberalisation.

Van Hoof said in the letter he is now aiming to open the economic borders fully on 1 January 2007. He will start his sector by sector review on 1 May next year.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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