Employers organisation VNO-NCW has called on parliament to open the Netherlands’ borders fully to workers from the new EU states. Waiting any longer will only damage the economy, the organisation said.
The construction and IT sectors are being especially hit by the ‘enormous shortage’ of staff, VNO-NCW chairman Bernard Wientjes said.
Limits on the entry of workers from Poland and other new EU countries were due to have been lifted several times. However, deadlines were postponed following objections from unions who were worried about pressure on pay.
In February, the social affairs ministry had said the Netherlands was ready to open its borders on March 1 because measures were in place to ensure new EU workers were paid the same as their Dutch counterparts. However, the borders remain closed and the restrictions are still in place.
‘These people are very welcome, they can begin tomorrow,’ Wientjes said in a video interview on the organisation’s website.
Earlier this month, the four big Dutch cities – Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam – wrote to ministers urging them to keep the borders closed. They said they needed more time to ensure there was proper housing available.
Wientjes said the cities had already had three years to get organised and urged MPs to open the borders as soon as possible.
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