Regulations labour migration from outside Europe more sharply defined from 1 July 2011

The Cabinet has agreed with the proposal of Minister Kamp for Social Services and Employment to only issue work permits to non-EU employees and employees from Bulgaria and Rumania in exceptional cases as from 1 July 2011. The Cabinet first wants to see people on benefit get work. The Cabinet agreed to send a letter to Parliament on the details of the Foreign Nationals Employment Act and the Knowledge Migrant Scheme

The number of permits has been declining sharply over the last years – to 14,000 in 2010 – because people from Central and Eastern Europe are allowed to work in the European Union without a permit, but the Cabinet would like to push back the number even more. It was agreed in the coalition agreement to investigate if sharper definitions of the Foreign Nationals Employment Act (in Dutch WAV) and the Knowledge Migrant Scheme (Kennismigrantenregeling) were possible. The Cabinet finds that both work fine in themselves, but some parts need to be more sharply defined, as in principle the supply of work is sufficient in the Netherlands and the European Union.

The Dutch Employee Insurance Agency UWV therefore will check employers’ applications for work permits more closely on whether people in the Netherlands or Europe can do the work and whether a company has sufficiently checked that. If an employer has done so insufficiently or pays the employees too little, the permit will be refused. This sharper definition will be fully implemented from 1 July 2011. Until then, the Employee Insurance Agency UWV will offer employers support and information. This is especially important for employers in agriculture and horticulture with a lot of seasonal work.

A labour migrant from outside the European Union will then also need to have had a work permit for five years before he or she is allowed to work in the Netherlands without a permit. Now that period is three years.