International workers and coronavirus: a hot topic in the Dutch media

Photo: Alex Nicholls-Lee

The impact of coronavirus on the international community in the Netherlands has been tackled in several of the big Dutch newspapers, partly based on the results of the survey, in which over 3,300 readers shared your stories.

The NRC looked at the plight of people who have come to the Netherlands on highly-skilled migrant or zoekjaar student visas and who have found themselves either without work or fighting to hold onto it.

‘If a highly-skilled migrant loses their job, they have three months to find a new job or they have to go home,’ the paper said. ‘The same applies to expats who came here on a ‘zoekjaar’ visa.’

There is, the paper said, ‘enormous unease’ within the international community. It referred to the survey results in which it emerged that almost half of respondents were concerned about the impact of coronavirus on their jobs and income.

The Volkskrant too spoke to several international workers who had been ‘stranded’ in the Netherlands by the coronavirus outbreak and were unable to return home, even though they had lost their jobs.

Kris de Prins, director of the Holland Expat Center South in Eindhoven told the paper that the rules about staying in the Netherlands are unclear. ‘It would appear as if the immigration service is taking a soft line on this,’ he said. ‘People are not being sent home.’

Spare time

Under the headline ‘Expats in corona time: cycling, a Dutch course and afraid of the aftershock’, the Financieele Dagblad spoke to companies with an international workforce, relocation and housing agencies, and workers themselves about the impact.

In particular, the paper said, estate agents who focus on the more expensive rental sector – above €1,800 a month – have noticed that fewer internationals are renting their properties.

It too quoted from the survey, highlighting the fact that almost one in five readers were using the lockdown to learn Dutch.


The Parool looked at the impact of coronavirus on Amsterdam’s housing market. Coronavirus has reduced the shortage of housing in Amsterdam, the paper said, both because holiday rentals had ground to a halt and because international workers were losing their jobs.

International students too, have left because they can just as easily follow online courses in their home country, the paper pointed out.

At the same time, the Parool translated one of its articles about expats staying put into English. ‘At least here I can go for a walk,’ one person told the paper.

Dutch news agency ANP, the NRC, local broadcaster Omroep West and the Reformatorische Dagblad also picked up on the survey – particularly the finding that seven in 10 readers had some measure of support for the Dutch government’s strategy.

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