Number of illegal building workers halved

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Increased inspections, tougher penalties and policy changes have all lead to a substantial decline in illegal building workers.

The Hague – The number of illegal workers in the building trade has declined to 18 percent in 2008, the labour inspectorate reported.

In 2007, inspections revealed that 30 percent of employees in the Dutch building sector lacked the required work permits.

The downward trend has been evident for years, but the inspectorate said the 2008 figures are “spectacular.”

The labour inspectorate said the reduction is due to increased inspections and higher fines for violators. In addition, many east Europeans, such as Poles and Czechs, no longer need a work permit for the Netherlands.

Most illegal workers in 2008 were Bulgarians and Romanians.

According to the inspectorate, many employers have attempted to bend the rules by formally hiring Bulgarians and Romanians as subcontractors, who are not subject to the same restrictions. However, their work relationship remains the same as that of an employee.

If employers are discovered, they will be fined, said the inspectorate.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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