Housing for EU migrant workers

There are currently about 400,000 migrant workers from central, eastern and southern Europe (EU migrant workers) in the Netherlands. Demand for housing for this group – temporary or otherwise – is expected to remain high in the years ahead. The Dutch government is encouraging municipalities, landlords and employers to provide suitable, affordable accommodation for EU migrant workers. 

Housing options for EU migrant workers

There are various types of housing available to EU migrant workers in the Netherlands. 

Rented accommodation through housing associations

Housing associations can help migrant workers find a rental home, though eligibility is means-tested.

Private rental

There are also various commercial organisations that specialise in rented accommodation for migrant workers. These have joined forces in the Migrant Worker Accommodation Providers’ Association (VHA), which is committed to providing decent accommodation for migrant workers during their stay in the Netherlands.

Housing in vacant buildings

Migrant workers can also be housed temporarily in vacant offices, shops and other commercial premises. The Office Transformation Expert Team (only in Dutch) can help municipalities find property suitable for conversion into housing.

Quality standards for migrant worker housing

The National Declaration on the Housing of EU Migrant Workers led to the creation of the Stichting Normering Flexwonen (SNF), which sets standards for the quality of housing for migrant workers (only in Dutch). The standards cover aspects like space and privacy, sanitation, and health & safety. The SNF also manages the regular register of organisations that comply with its standards.

The SNF register for sublease

If an organisation does not manage migrant worker housing itself, but hires it from an SNF-registered company, it can apply to be added to the SNF register for sublease. Once a year it must show that all the housing it sublets to migrant workers is provided through SNF-registered parties. These subletting organisations are also subject to an annual SNF audit. If not all of the sublet housing is managed by a party on the regular SNF register, the subletting organisation is removed from the SNF register for sublease.

Registration in the Personal Records Database

Migrant workers can register in the Personal Records Database as residents or non-residents. Non-residents are people who do not live in the Netherlands or who stay here for less than 4 months and have dealings with the Dutch authorities. Examples are frontier workers and people who live abroad and receive a Dutch pension. Residents are people who live in the Netherlands for longer.