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article imageDutch authorities aim to restrict influx of migrant workers

By Eileen Kersey     Dec 9, 2013 in World
Amsterdam - Amsterdam, the constitutional capital of Holland, may be viewed as a liberal city, due to its previously lax laws on pot-smoking, but like so many other European countries, Holland is tightening its rules regarding migrant workers.
Immigration is a bone of contention across the EU. Economic migrants fleeing poverty and restrictive regimes in their homelands often travel to EU countries which used to be classed as prosperous. However, the changing economic climate means their destination may not be as affluent, in real terms, as believed.
A falling standard of living in Europe and high levels of economic migrants is resulting in a rise in xenophobia and the extreme right.
Monday Dutch News reports Rotterdam and The Hague city council are introducing extra checks on the accommodation used by migrants on short-term employment contracts.
The authorities claim the checks will prevent further overcrowding of properties. If workers do not satisfy the accommodation checks they will not be issued a BSN number. Migrant workers must be issued with a BSN number before they can work in the country. So, no BSN number, no work.
Will these changes be viewed as sensible, racist or nation specific?
According to IAmsterdam:
The 30% reimbursement ruling (better known as the 30% ruling) is a tax advantage for highly skilled migrants moving to the Netherlands for a specific employment role. When the necessary conditions are met, the employer can grant a tax free allowance equivalent to 30% of the gross salary subject to Dutch payroll tax.
In other words some migrants may still be welcomed with open arms. Other countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada traditionally had restrictions in place as to who could work and live in their countries but they are not part of the EU.
In particular Dutch authorities are concerned about Romanian and Bulgarian nationals. The UK expects an influx of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals in early 2014 when EU restrictions are lifted and British politicians are currently attempting to find ways of limiting numbers. Free movement rules which are at the heart of the European Union may make that tricky.
Ahead of the lifting of restrictions of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants, UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, is due to address EU officials in Brussels regarding a change to the rules governing the free movement of people across the EU.
Cities in the Netherlands are being warned by the authorities not to forge ahead with accommodation check plans as they contravene home affairs ministry rules.
Romania’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Ireny Comaroschi, went on TV to reassure the Dutch that few Romanians will want to come to Holland, claiming the few that will are likely to be affluent and highly skilled individuals.
Dutch News reports "A poll earlier this month on behalf of the Socialist Party found 80% of the Dutch think the borders should remain closed.".
For those unsure why the thorny issue of immigration in the EU is increasing tensions and fuelling hate consider a July Dutch News report which began:
At least 100,000 migrant workers are not paying local and national taxes in the Netherlands because they have not registered with their local council, RTL news reports on Tuesday.
RTL says this is costing national and local government €150m a year. By not registering, migrants don’t have to pay water and waste collection charges or health insurance and motoring taxes. In total, this adds up to €1,500 per person a year, the broadcaster said.
In Rotterdam and Amsterdam officials estimate some 30,000 migrant workers have not registered. In The Hague the figure is put at 14,000. By law in the Netherlands, everyone has to register with their local council (GBA) when they move to the area.
Geert Wilders (R)  leader of the Netherlands  Party for Freedom (PVV)  and far-right leader Marine L...
Geert Wilders (R), leader of the Netherlands' Party for Freedom (PVV), and far-right leader Marine Le Pen (2nd R) of France address a news conference in The Hague. The two anti-euro, anti-immigration politicians have talked of joining forces for months to win a wider pan-European stage
With permission by Reuters / Toussaint Kluiters
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