Lifting border restrictions under present circumstance irresponsible

20 December 2006

Lifting border restrictions under present circumstance irresponsible

“What is the Secretary of State doing?” asked SP Member of Parliament and employment spokesman Jan de Wit during yesterday's Question Time. Mr de Wit's question came in reaction to the decision by the Employment Secretary (a member of the neoliberal-minded VVD, a party which was trounced in last month's poll and will almost certainly not form part of any new coalition) to go for an immediate further opening of borders to workers from central and eastern Europe. The outgoing cabinet is determined to remove the so-called 'labour market test' for most sectors. This measure obliges employers to ensure that no workers already resident in the Netherlands are available to fill a post before importing migrant labour.

Jan de Wit“In the press release from the Secretary of State he outlines which sectors he wants to see further opened, which goes against everything which has been agreed. This affects, for example, the taxi sector, public transport and the ambulance service. How is this possible when the Secretary of State has done nothing whatsoever to regulate the situation, for example in relation to knowledge of Dutch?”

The SP's view is that the loosening of restrictions on the influx of labour will lead to a situation in which unemployed people in the Netherlands will find it harder to find work while employers will no longer invest in people returning to work after a long absence or those, for example, with a disability. Prospects for school leavers will deteriorate and pressure on the social security system will increase.

The Secretary of State announced yesterday that he saw no problem in removing restrictions, but he isn't just going to get away with this. This evening sees a thorough parliamentary debate on the issue. Jan de Wit will be demanding that the minister withdraws his decision and before making any such move works, as he promised to, on the conditions demanded by Parliament.

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