The Netherlands will need some 250,000 workers by 2020 to offset the effect of the greying population, a government commission was told on Wednesday, the Financieele Dagblad reports.
In addition, the Netherlands will have to compete with other EU states for migrant workers from central and eastern Europe, various speakers pointed out.
The commission is investigating the lessons which can be learned from recent migration from Poland when the borders are fully opened up to people from Bulgaria and Romania, possibly in 2012.
Frank van Gool, of staffing agency Otto Workforce, which specialises in workers from central and eastern Europe, told the commission the Dutch have to stop thinking that the Netherlands is a paradise.
Wages are higher in Scandinavia, Germany and Austria are closer to home and critical statements about migrant labour in the Netherlands have made many people feel they are not welcome here, Van Gool said.
Rob Slagmolen, of employers organisation VNO-NCW, urged the Netherlands to fully open its borders in 2012. ‘Make sure that migrant workers can find their way here,’ he said.
The commission will hear evidence from a wide variety of speakers and experts all week.
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