Government labour inspectors handed out a record 3,197 fines to companies for employing staff without the proper papers last year, as the government’s clampdown on the black economy continues. Companies taking on illegal workers face fines of up to €8,000 per individual.
A spokeswoman for the social affairs ministry said the number of employers appealing against fines had also soared – up from 45 in 2005 to 276 last year. Some workers had such well-forged papers that employers could be forgiven for believing them to be genuine, the spokeswoman said.
Labour inspectors carried out 10,000 inspections last year. Most of the companies fined for using illegal workers were in the meat and fish processing industries, construction and light engineering.
Hundreds of private individuals were also fined €4,000 for employing illegal staff – mainly cleaners or handymen from Eastern Europe, the Volkskrant reported. Inspectors plan a further 10,000 spot checks this year and expect to issue even more fines because they have built up experience in high-risk areas.
The labour inspectorate has had the power to fine companies since 2005. Before then the average fine handed out by the courts was €984.
Last October the temporary employment agency association ABU claimed that between 5,500 and 6,000 unofficial employment agencies were operating in the Netherlands with some 80,000 illegal immigrants on their books.
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