European nationals who do not have a job or who cannot financially support themselves will have to leave the Netherlands within three months, if new rules the government is planning to introduce come into force.
The aim of the new measures is to ‘better regulate the arrival and departure’ of migrants from other EU countries, ministers say. It is not yet clear if and how the measures conflict with EU rules on the free movement of people.
‘The direct cause [of the new measures] is the increase in migration from Central and Eastern Europe but the tougher measures affect all EU citizens,’ the document, drawn up by the social affairs and immigration ministries, says.
Right to stay
The new rules state EU citizens with no means of support will have to leave the country and those who spend more than three months looking for a job will also lose their right to stay.
Welfare (bijstand), the basic social security payment for people will no other means of support, will only be paid to people who speak Dutch. Claimants must complete a course to qualify. The requirement to speak Dutch will affect everyone, not just EU citizens.
The cabinet is also to make sure all ‘work migrants’ are registered with the immigration service and their local authority and to require local councils to check up that people have proper housing. It also wants housing corporations and local authorities to take more account of the needs of migrants in housing policy.
Central and Eastern Europe
Specific action is being targeted at people from Central and Eastern Europe because of concerns that many of them are being exploited by unscrupulous employers.
And several politicians from the right and left of the political spectrum have recently called for government action to curb what they say is the nuisance caused by thousands of Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian workers.
In February, for example, a Socialist MP called for help to deal with a ‘tsunami’ of Eastern European migrants in Zundert.
To combat the exploitation of migrants from these countries, fines will be stepped up for employers who deduct high costs for bed and board and all staffing agencies will have to be officially registered with the authorities.
The cabinet also plans to declare EU nationals who repeatedly commit crimes undesirable aliens.
Social affairs minister Henk Kamp will host a conference to discuss the new measures with local authorities and migrant organisations on April 20.
Earlier this year, European justice commissioner Vivian Reding warned the Netherlands it must respect EU rules on the free movement of people. The cabinet is to look into which EU-level rules need to be amended to make sure the Dutch plans can go through.
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