The leader of the small orthodox Christian party ChristenUnie has called for limits on the number of immigrants from central and eastern Europe allowed to move to the Netherlands, warning that without action there will be another ‘multicultural drama’.
Gert-Jan Segers told television current affairs show EenVandaag on Wednesday evening that the arrival of large groups of eastern Europeans is having ‘a large impact on local communities and leading to great unease’.
According to national statistics office CBS, some 250,000 people from central and eastern Europe are living and working in the Netherlands. Segers says he is worried that many of them will live here for longer and fail to integrate properly into Dutch society.
In addition, workers from central and eastern Europe are taking jobs which Dutch people living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods could be doing because they are cheaper, Segers said. ChristenUnie is part of the current four-party Dutch coalition.
Just last month, new research by the government’s socio-cultural policy unit SCP showed migrant workers only rarely take jobs which were being done by the native Dutch population. ‘Most of the scientific literature on migration also offers no evidence of migration-induced displacement.’
Other research by the SCP shows that despite having jobs and working long hours, Polish nationals earn on average a third less than the Dutch and 17% live in poverty. However, just 1.8% are claiming welfare benefits, compared with 2.6% of the Dutch population as a whole.
RTL journalist Joost Vullings who interviewed Segers about the issues pointed out that European elections will take place next May. ‘You could say Segers is kicking off the ChristenUnie campaign,’ Vullings said.
In the interview, Segers also blamed the British Brexit vote on the arrival of large number of Polish and other eastern European workers.
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