Housing for EU labour migrants

Workers from other European Union countries often live in poor conditions. The government is encouraging municipalities, landlords and employers to provide suitable temporary accommodation for them.

Poor housing conditions for EU migrant workers

Many workers from eastern, central and southern Europe live in overcrowded conditions, or in caravans or holiday homes. This can lead to antisocial behaviour, nuisance and degradation, and even to dangerous situations if the accommodation becomes a fire hazard. The government wants to ensure that there is appropriate and affordable temporary housing for this group of workers.

400,000 EU migrant workers

There are currently 400,000 migrant workers in the Netherlands from eastern, central and southern Europe. Demand for temporary housing for these workers will remain high in the years ahead.

Flexible housing for migrant workers

The Flexible Housing for Migrant Workers Programme has been introduced to improve the temporary housing available for EU workers. It was launched in nine regions in 2012 to provide temporary housing for different groups of workers in rotation.
The Flexible Housing for Migrant Workers Expertise Centre (EFA) is part of the programme. It helps municipalities, landlords and employers increase the provision of flexible housing. Its website provides information on flexible housing, including the parties’ responsibilities, the law, research, housing standards, guidance and practical examples. The centre also publishes a regular newsletter.

National Declaration on the Housing of EU Migrant Workers

The Flexible Housing for Migrant Workers Programme is the outcome of agreements made between the government, municipalities, housing associations, employers and trade unions and laid down in the National Declaration on the Housing of EU Migrant Workers in 2012.

Alternative housing for migrant workers

Platform 31 studies innovative housing projects for migrant workers on behalf of the government.
Six pilot projects are being carried out in 2014 to address three major problems:

  • financing of housing;
  • negative perceptions of migrant workers;
  • organisation of housing management.

Housing migrant workers in vacant properties

Migrant workers can also be housed temporarily in vacant offices, shops and other commercial premises that have been converted into suitable accommodation. The number of vacant properties owned by public authorities and civil society organisations has also increased in recent years. These, too, can be converted into flexible housing.

The Flexible Housing Property Bank matches the supply of vacant properties to the demand.
The following organisations offer vacant properties for sale or to let:

  • the State Property and Development Agency: government buildings;
  • the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers;
  • the State Forest Service: forest lodges and farm outbuildings;
  • Reliplan: churches and monasteries;
  • municipalities.

The Office Transformation Expert Team helps municipalities find property suitable for conversion into housing or study the potential of a particular building or area.

Registration in the Personal Records Database

Migrant workers can register in the Personal Records Database (BRP) as residents or non-residents. Non-residents are people who stay in the Netherlands for less than four months but have a relationship with a Dutch government body. Residents are people who stay in the Netherlands longer. Non-residents can register in 18 municipalities in the Netherlands. They are issued with a citizen service number (BSN) when they register. Registration is free of charge.