Two-thirds of the Dutch think too many migrants from eastern Europe have moved to the Netherlands, according to research by the government’s socio-cultural think-tank SCP.
In particular, they are concerned about rising crime rates, public nuisance and a squeeze on jobs, broadcaster Nos quotes the SCP as saying.
Almost six out of 10 think eastern Europeans abuse the social security system and 47% think they are taking away jobs from Dutch nationals. Almost half think new arrivals from Poland, Bulgaria and Romania cause problems and are more likely to be criminals.
According to the national statistics office CBS, some 600,000 people from other EU countries currently live in the Netherlands and 20,000 of them are claiming jobless or welfare benefits.
In September, social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher set up a research project to look at claims Dutch people are being squeezed out of jobs by cheaper workers from eastern Europe.
At the same time, half of those questioned for the SCP research think people from eastern Europe are hard workers, particularly Poles. Several employment projects aimed at getting more Dutch jobless into low-skilled jobs such as greenhouse work – where eastern Europeans dominate – have failed.
Romanian and Bulgarian nationals have free movement throughout the European Union from January 1 and many officials worry that tens of thousands of people may move to the Netherlands.
Romania’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Ireny Comaroschi, told television current affairs show Buitenhof earlier this month the Netherlands should not be worried that thousands of Romanians and Bulgarians will come to the country.
There are not many Romanians in the country and not many more will come, she said.
Those that will arrive will be highly-qualified people who are willing to integrate into Dutch society, she said.
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