The unemployment rate among people with an ethnic minority background is higher in the Netherlands than in any other EU country apart from Sweden, the Volkskrant reported at the weekend.
According to figures from EU statistics office Eurostat and the OECD, 77% of the native Dutch working population have a job, compared with 49.5% of people from an ethnic minority.
Only Sweden has a worst record, but Sweden accepts three times more asylum seekers than the Netherlands, the Volkskrant said. Asylum seekers find it more difficult to get a job than traditional labour migrants.
The unemployment rate among Dutch people of Moroccan descent is now 19.6%, compared with 5.7% among the native Dutch. Before the start of the economic crisis, Dutch Moroccans had an unemployment rate of just 5.8%, compared with 2.8% among the white Dutch.
The jobless rate among people of Antillean ancestry is 19.3%, among Turks 15.3% and among Surinamese immigrants 13.9%.
Sociologist Monique Kremer told the paper the high rate among people with ethnic minority origins is partly due to the fact they are more likely to have had temporary or flexible contract before the start of the crisis. Those jobs were among the first to go.
However, Kremer said it is shocking that highly-skilled people with a minority background are much more likely to be unemployed than native Dutch people with the same level of education.
‘It is worrying and undermines our belief that everything will be fine if you have a good education,’ she told the paper.
Prime minister Mark Rutte told Metro newspaper recently that he is aware ‘it does matter if you apply for a job as Mohammed or Jan’.
‘The paradox is that the solution lies with Mohammed,’ he said. ‘Newcomers have always had to adapt and always had to deal with prejudice. You have to fight your way in.’
Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher said on Sunday it is ‘unacceptable’ if people with an ethnic minority background are in a worse position on the labour market.
‘These figures should wake us all up,’ he is quoted as saying by news agency ANP. ‘We should never accept discrimination.’
‘There is discrimination on the jobs market,’ he said. ‘Jan has a better chance of a job in the Netherlands than Mohammed.’ Discrimination leads to dreams of the future ending in frustration and wasted talent, he said.
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