Letter from Minister to Parliament on labour migration

In a letter to the Dutch Parliament, the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, Lodewijk Asscher, discusses the recent WRR Policy Brief Making Romanian and Bulgarian labour migration work. The letter from the minister, dated 11 February 2014, discusses a number of topics in relation to EU labour migration.


The minister welcomes the topicality of the WRR Policy Brief, which shows clearly where the problems and opportunities lie in relation to labour migration. Like the WRR, he is convinced that repeating the ‘guest worker’ history can be avoided if appropriate measures are taken now.

First, it is important that migrants wishing to settle permanently in the Netherlands remain employable on the Dutch labour market. That employability is increased by a knowledge of the Dutch language and by full participation in Dutch society. The minister also shares the view expressed by the WRR that labour migration must not be allowed to lead to unfair competition and a race to the bottom in terms of employment. The minister has already launched a large number of initiatives in recent years.


At EU level, the Netherlands continues to place labour migration on the agenda. The recently signed political accord on the enforcement directive is a step in the right direction. The social security aspects of secondment within Europe have also recently become a topic of discussion.

The minister endorses the WRR analysis that a labour market with fewer short-term employment contracts can help curtail the arrival of labour migrants.

Attract highly skill migrants

Finally, the minister agrees with the WRR that it is important to attract more highly skilled migrants to the Netherlands. Additional information will therefore be given to labour migrants in their country of origin about the Dutch labour market, with a view to interesting highly skilled people in coming to work in the Netherlands.