SP demands emergency debate on open borders for eastern European workers

15 September 2006

SP demands emergency debate on open borders for eastern European workers

The Socialist Party has described the government's decision to remove remaining restrictions on the entry of workers from eastern Europe in twenty-three sectors as “totally irresponsible”. SP Member of Parliament Jan de Wit, who is demanding an emergency debate on the decision, said “They have considered only the interests of big corporations and have no thought for the consequences for those workers who have already been thrown on the scrapheap or who are about to qualify to practice a skilled trade.”

Jan de WitEmployers in a number of sectors including metalworking, hotels and catering, retail and health care will no longer be under any obligation to seek personnel in the first instance from amongst people already settled in the Netherlands, but will be free to recruit in eastern Europe. “And this at a time when we have more than 300.000 registered unemployed as well as many young people seeking their first job,” Mr De Wit pointed out. “Employers in many sectors have refused to train staff themselves, but now scream blue murder because, they say, they cannot find workers with the right skills. We should be addressing this problem not by removing restrictions on entry, but by forcing these employers to take on young and unemployed people and train them.”

Liberal Employment Secretary Henk Van Hoof is always citing Britain as proof that open borders are good for the economy. Yet not long ago the British government admitted that the removal of all restrictions on entry had been a mistake which had led to major problems for schools, for the social security system and in housing. They had expected 30,000 migrant workers to arrive as a result of open borders, but the true figure turned out to be 600,000, most of them Polish. Opening the borders to Bulgaria and Romania, which will soon be members of the EU, no longer has Britain's support.

De Wit's intention is to use an emergency debate to ask the government to clarify its position.

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