More Polish migrants to the Netherlands

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The government says more economic migrants than expected have moved to the Netherlands from Central and Eastern Europe, especially from Poland, over the last seven years.

In 2004, the Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis CPB estimated that between 7,500 and 15,000 people from the new European Union countries would move to the Netherlands by 2006. The figure was on top of the usual 10,000 seasonal workers.

However, at the beginning of 2008, at least 100,000 Eastern Europeans were estimated to be in the Netherlands and nearly 200,000 were registered with the Dutch authorities at the start of this year. The real figure is difficult to gauge as many economic migrants are not registered.

Welcome Social Affairs Minister Henk Kamp stresses foreign workers are welcome as long as they are able to provide for themselves. He says only limited numbers of Eastern European immigrants are claiming benefits, but admits numbers are rising. In the spring, he announced stricter measures in relation to people from Poland, Romania and Bulgaria to combat the trend.

Mr Kamp also thinks it’s a bad thing that “increasing numbers of work-related migrants are being taken on for manual or unqualified labour, while hundreds of thousands of people who could work are standing by and claiming benefits”. Since 1 July, he has arranged that as few work permits as possible have been issued to people from outside the Netherlands.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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