Saturday 10 December 2022

Jobs agencies to be licenced from 2025 to protect foreign workers

Much farm work is done by seasonal workers. Photo: DutchNews.nl

The government is working on a licencing system for jobs agencies to weed out exploitation of EU workers.

A licence for bona fide agencies is one of the recommendations made in a report by former SP leader Emile Roemer to protect foreign workers in 2020. .

‘It is too easy to set up a staffing agency and there are too many dodgy companies,’ Roemer said at the time.

Only jobs agencies which follow the rules around pay and the provision of accommodation will be eligible for the licence.

The move comes after years of complaints about illegal practices by agencies,  such as health insurance rip offs, substandard accommodation, irregularities surrounding pay, and intimidation.

Certified agencies will need to have a statement of good behaviour and pay a guarantee of €100,000. Any accommodation they offer will also need to be certified.

Spot checks of wages and tax payments will also be made and any agency found to deviate from the rules will have its licence revoked.

‘Too often foreign workers are treated like second rate citizens,’ social affairs minister Karien van Gennip said. ‘Too many jobs agencies do not look after their workers properly and make them sleep and work in dire circumstances. That is not acceptable. People who come here to work have a right to proper living and working conditions, like you and me,’ she said.

The new licencing system is expected to become operational from 2025. There are currently around 15,000 jobs agencies in the Netherlands.

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