Law to root out rogue jobs agencies postponed until 2026

Greenhouse growers often use agency staff to pick fruit and veg. Photo: Dutch News

The licencing of jobs agencies to prevent thousands of foreign workers from being exploited will be postponed by another year and is now expected to come into effect in 2026.

More time is needed to introduce the new system aimed at rooting out jobs agencies that are failing in their responsibilities towards foreign workers, which include accommodation, healthcare, and registration, caretaker social affairs minister Karien van Gennip told MPs in a briefing..

“Workers are still being treated like second-rate citizens by rogue agencies taking advantage of a vulnerable group and making a lot of money doing it. That is unworthy of the Netherlands,” Van Gennip said.

The proposals in the new draft law include some of the recommendations made in a report by former SP leader Emile Roemer to protect foreign workers in 2020. When introduced, agencies will have to provide include a declaration of good conduct (VOG), a €100,000 deposit and proof workers are being properly paid and tax requirements fulfilled.

Companies will only be allowed to do business with licenced jobs agencies.

The system, which was supposed to become effective from 2025, has been delayed because the Council of State said the 1,500 jobs agencies now operating in the Netherlands were not being properly monitored.

Van Gennip said that task will be taken on by 90 extra labour inspectors who will carry out spot checks. Jobs agencies that fail the test will be fined or will have their licence revoked.

Jobs agencies were licenced until 1998. Since then the number of agencies has exploded from 4,000 to over 15,000.

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