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Netherlands – Government gets tough with rogue recruiters, €5m fines

18 March 2013

Dutch authorities last year inspected over 1,300 staffing firms in the country and fined unscrupulous recruiters millions of Euros, said the minister of social affairs and employment, Lodewijk Asscher.

In a letter addressed to the Dutch lower house, Mr Asscher said he wanted to tackle rogue traders in the staffing industry who form a “persistent problem” in the job market. The government imposed fines of €5 million on rogue recruiters last year.

He also pointed out that there have been 42 trials which involved 66 staffing companies and 116 client firms. In 10 of these cases, there have been incidents of illegal employment, underpayment, forgery or exploitation.

The government wants to increase measures against rogue recruiters and prevent further abuses. It therefore wants to fine not only the companies involved in criminal activity, but also the people operating these firms.

Mr Asscher also praised the staffing industry which, he said, helped to improve the quality of employment agencies. He said that the government and staffing companies want to get on top of the abuses in the industry. “People should be protected from exploitation and underpayment. Our joint effort gets results,” he said.

There are also plans to publicly name and shame staffing companies which do not play by the rules.

There have been numerous reports in the Dutch media about foul play in the staffing industry. In January, it was revealed that two Netherlands-based staffing agencies operating in Poland used legal loopholes to bring cheap foreign labour into the country by using sham contracts. Last year, the directors of a staffing company were also sentenced to prison for trafficking and sexually exploiting foreign workers. 

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