VVD urges action on ‘benefit tourism’

People who claim welfare benefits (bijstand) after having only been in the Netherlands for a short period should be deported, VVD parliamentarian Malik Azmani says in Monday’s De Pers newspaper.

Azmani said he will use this week’s debate on the social affairs ministry budget to urge the government to get tough on ‘welfare tourism’.
The MP told De Pers he is concerned that claims by migrants will increase and pointed to the situation in the town of Vaal, situated close to German and Belgian borders. This summer, Vaal raised the alarm about its welfare benefit bill, saying 9% of claimants were new to the town.
Social affairs minister Henk Kamp said in August the number of people from central and eastern Europe claiming welfare benefits in the Netherlands went up from 460 in 2008 to 1070 by the end of last year.
The number of unemployment benefit (ww) claims rose from 107 in 2007 to 1,527 by December 2010. Everyone in work pays unemployment benefit employment premiums.
The government is already planning to make it harder for eastern Europeans to claim welfare benefits by introducing language and other requirements. The immigration service IND can also withdraw residency permits from jobless migrants.
According to De Pers, Kamp also wants Brussels to introduce tougher rules so that EU nationals can only claim benefits in another country if they have lived there for at least five years.

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