Independent MP Pieter Omtzigt, whose fledgling political party Nieuwe Sociaal Contract is leading the opinion polls ahead of the November general election, wants to put the brake on immigration across the board.
Omzigt, who has said his party’s manifesto will not be published before the end of next month, said during Wednesday’s debate on the budget that without action, the population of the Netherlands will reach 22 million by 2050 or 2060.
“Every few years we will have to build a city the size of Utrecht,” he said. The key to the housing shortage, he said, is government action.
“Is the cabinet prepared to take steps to reform the labour market to reduce labour migration?” he asked during his six minute speech.
- What’s all the fuss about immigration in the Netherlands?
- Inburgering with DN: what sort of foreigner are you?
“Is the government prepared to limit study migration?” the MP continued. “In Twente, you now study management in English, but our public sector needs Dutch speakers.”
Omzigt hinted in parliament, and on television talk show Humberto later, that he would like to see a limit of 50,000 new arrivals a year, made up of students, workers and refugees.
He also referred to the net inflow of 200,000 people last year, without mentioning that 108,000 of them come from Ukraine and are here temporarily.
Immigration is set to be a key issue in the general election, with several parties calling for quotas, despite the limitations of European legislation on free movement.
According to figures from national statistics office CBS, of the total people who came to the Netherlands in 2022, almost 44,000 (11%) were Dutch nationals returning home after a spell working or studying abroad.
Almost 129,000 of them (32%) came from the EU and European Free Trade Association (Efta) countries and 108,000 (27%) came from Ukraine.
A further 122,000 people (30%) came from outside the European Union and Efta, including 26,000 who came to work under various highly skilled migrant schemes. They also brought with them 39,000 family members – mainly partners and school-age children.
Some 46,000 were refugees, including family members joining them in the Netherlands. Most of those came from Syria.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation