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Netherlands – Tighter regulations for non-EU nationals

30 October 2012

Tighter regulations for foreign workers will make it more difficult for employers to hire staff from outside the European Union next year. This was announced by the Dutch government which said that work permits for non-EU nationals will only be valid for one year in the future.

Employers may also be refused to grant work permits if they have violated labour law in the past, the government said in a press release.

The Cabinet has approved a proposal by the State Secretary of Social Affairs and Employment, Paul de Krom. But the proposal still needs legal approval by the Senate.

The government said half a million unemployed people in the Netherlands are receiving benefits but are capable of working. This was “undesirable” considering that non-EU nationals are given permission to do work that could be carried out by those living off benefits. 

From next year, the law will oblige employers to pay “competitive wages.” If employers do not recruit enough Dutch or EU nationals, the Secretary may consider introducing a sector-wide quota. From next year, foreign workers will also only be eligible for a permanent work permit after five years of working, compared to the current three years. 

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