Minister stands firm on Romanian,, Bulgarian work permits

Social affairs minister Henk Kamp has told farming and employer organisations he will not back down on plans to get tough on visas for Romanian and Bulgarian workers from July 1.

The minister says there are enough unemployed Dutch nationals and other EU workers already in the Netherlands who can do seasonal agricultural work.
Although Bulgaria and Romania are members of the EU, their nationals still require a permit to work in the Netherlands.
Legal action
Market gardeners in the south of the country are to press ahead with their legal action against Kamp. They argue he has changed the rules in the middle of the season, putting their harvests at risk.
A group of some 2,000 Romanians have worked in the region’s orchards and strawberry fields for years.
Kamp has told the state-run jobs agency UWV that work permits for people from Bulgaria and Romania may only be issued under very strict circumstances.
In 2010, the UWV gave permits to 2,734 Romanian and 866 Bulgarians to do temporary agricultural jobs. This means 97% of seasonal work is done by people without a work permit, Kamp said.

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