Dutch borders open to east Europeans from 2007
As from January, the Netherlands will open its borders fully to people from Poland, Estonia, Hungary and the five other east and central European countries which have been EU members since 2004.
The cabinet hopes the move will ease the growing shortage of workers in sectors such as construction and manufacturing.
Trade unions and MPs had earlier called for entry restrictions to remain in place until measures have been taken to stop unfair competition with Dutch workers.
Social affairs junior minister Henk van Hoof said in a letter to MPs on Friday that he is satisfied enough has now been done to stop employers undercutting official minimum wages. The cabinet has also taken steps to make sure employers provide proper accommodation for their workers, he said.
If the borders are not opened, economic growth could slow down because of personnel shortages, Van Hoof said. Official statistics show the number of vacancies is rising faster than jobs are being filled. Last week the cabinet decided not to allow people from Bulgaria and Romania free entry into the Netherlands until 2009.
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