Political climate warms for expat workers
1 April 2004
AMSTERDAM — In an additional indication that Dutch politicians are changing tack when it comes to expat workers, main opposition party PvdA is demanding the Netherlands open its arms in welcome to high-educated foreigners, political sources claim.
But the sources also said the PvdA believes the nation should restrict the entry of disadvantaged immigrants. The party’s plans are to be officially unveiled on Friday, news agency ANP reported.
The political climate is swinging in favour of skilled expats, with Democrat D66 Economic Affairs Minister Laurens Jan Brinkhorst claiming the Netherlands is suffering economically due to a shortage of engineers and software developers.
He pointed out the country was too restrictive on skilled labour migration and was employing populist LPF-type immigration policies. The party of the deceased Pim Fortuyn was made famous for its anti-immigration stance.
“What we are missing is an immigration policy in relation to the transfer of knowledge,” Brinkhorst said at the end of tour to Asia last month.
And what could represent a turnaround in the policy of coalition government party Christian Democrat CDA, a party workgroup recently backed the recruitment of highly-educated foreigners to fill jobs where a shortage of Dutch workers exists
It represents a change in stance to coalition government partner, Liberal VVD, which has in the past expressed opposition to allowing more foreign workers into the country. The Netherlands has also rejected EU advice to employ more expat workers, instead preferring to employ Dutch workers.
But due to the fact the Netherlands will be faced with a labour shortage as the effects of an aging population start to be felt across the economy, the PvdA said high-educated foreigners should be given a better chance to enter the country for work.
For middle-educated foreigners, the party suggests a rotation system should be implemented in which immigrants would be forced to leave the country after a certain period of time before being allowed re-entry. The PvdA said the immigration of low-educated foreigners should be discouraged.
It also said ethnic groups should be better spread across the nation and to achieve this, it said wealthy suburbs should be obligated to build a greater amount of cheaper housing. Large cities should construct more expensive housing, the party urged.
But the PvdA rejected the government’s plans to place stronger restrictions of family and partner migration.
It said the education levels of these immigrants should be raised, but rejected plans to demand that their Dutch partners earn 120 percent of the minimum income and be at least 21 years old before being allowed to bring their foreign partner into the country.
The Cabinet intends to raise those restrictions to 120 percent and 21, for both Dutch national and foreigner partner. The measure is designed mainly to restrict the number of Turkish and Moroccan nationals entering the country.
In a series of plans and proposals to reduce immigration and stimulate social cohesion, it also intends to force non-EU family unification migrants to complete integration courses in their land of origin before arrival.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news