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Netherlands – Foreign temporary workers cheated in health insurance scam

11 February 2014

Temporary foreign workers are being actively cheated by health insurance companies and recruitment agencies, according to CNV Professionals (Vakmensen), the largest trade union affiliated with the Christian Trade Unions (CNV), reports rtlnieuws.nl. The union represents the interests of workers in construction, the industrial sector, transportation, food, and services.

CNV Professionals recently contacted Dutch Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, Lodewijk Asscher, who will be debating this issue in Parliament in March. According to the letter sent to Mr Asscher, both staffing companies and health insurers profit from the situation, while temporary workers are disadvantaged.

The CNV has accused some recruitment agencies of agreeing a collective health insurance discount but not passing on the savings to the workers, for whom they are intended. Furthermore, the cost to the recruitment agency is further reduced by agreeing to high deductibles for temporary workers. Again, this saving is not being passed on to the agency worker. According to CNV Professionals, the recruitment agencies can ‘earn’ up to €20 per worker per month.

CNV Professionals has accused recruitment agencies and insurance companies of collusion. According to insurance companies, most temporary foreign workers do not seek medical care abroad, preferring instead to return to their native country for treatment. Therefore, CNV Professionals allege that the insurer sells policies, they know will be seldom used, and shares in the profits with the recruitment agency.   

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