ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers has told the AD in an interview that he is prepared to work on measures to limit the number of refugees coming to the Netherlands, under certain conditions.
The smallest of the four coalition parties was earlier sceptical about the wish of the VVD and CDA to reduce numbers but Segers told the paper he is now open to change. The desire to cut the asylum seekers total is widely supported in society and therefore feels like a ‘task for the entire coalition’, he said.
‘If the Netherlands grows by a city the size of Deventer every year, it is legimate to ask “can we cope”,’ Segers said.
However, Segers said this is not just a question of looking at refugee numbers. Most new arrivals, he said, are ‘labour migrants’ who work in greenhouses and slaughterhouses and are often underpaid and exploited by unlicenced staffing agencies.
Prime minister Mark Rutte has an important role in getting a grip on migration in a European context, partly by ensuring Europe’s borders are better protected, Segers said.
But he will also have to convince his fellow European leaders that there need to be permits and regulations to govern labour migration between member states.
Most of the 800,000 people who are in the Netherlands to carry out seasonal or menial jobs are from eastern Europe and have the right to freedom of movement.
Earlier this month, the head of the social affairs ministry inspectorate told the NRC in an interview that around 15% of Dutch staffing agencies – or around 2,500 companies – are breaking the law and exploiting staff.
Without limits, or targets, for population growth, employers will continue to bring in workers to do certain jobs because successful economies like the Netherlands and Germany are ‘magnets for migrant labour’, Rits de Boer said.
Distribution centres, slaughterhouses and greenhouses are all reliant on low paid personnel and staffing agencies are actively recruiting workers in central and eastern Europe, he said. ‘They come because the staffing agencies facilitate it,’ he said.
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