If it were up to the BoerCurgerMovement, migrant workers would initially be accommodated on the premises of the companies that deployed the workers. This is what Henk Vermeer, secretary of the party and number four on the list of candidates for BBB, says. ‘Ideally, every company that employs migrant workers should also house them on its own premises,’ he says in the BNR podcast ‘And Free Beer for Everyone’.
The party speaks of ‘regulated labor migration’, which specifically concerns personnel ‘needed for food security, technology and medically trained personnel’. ‘Without migration, agriculture and horticulture are currently impossible,’ says Vermeer.
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BBB distinguishes three different types of migration: asylum, work and study. Vermeer wants strict selection at the gate for students from abroad, among other things. “What does it add to give a Vietnamese student a Philosophy course here?” he says as an example.
Set up a framework
In addition, Vermeer wants a framework to be drawn up for the housing of migrant workers. He uses Harderwijk as an example, the municipality where he was also in politics for many years. ‘This framework ensures that the benefits and burdens are better distributed. For example, in neighborhoods where people with lower incomes live, houses are often also populated by migrant workers, without a special residential permit is for.’
Vermeer also outlines his ideal image for migrant workers in the Netherlands: ‘Ideally, every company that employs migrant workers should also house them on its own premises.’ However, he realizes that housing rules hold back that ideal image. ‘Regulations do not allow housing to be provided on an industrial estate with high noise levels.’ However, he sees that it is possible in some locations. ‘That is very common in fruit growing.’ For his party, it is also not an issue for the housing problem in the Netherlands if other companies also start doing the same.
No permanent solution
But this cannot provide a permanent solution to this problem, says Hein de Haas, professor of Sociology and Migration at the University of Amsterdam. ‘That is possible with certain forms of seasonal work. But in many types the employer also attaches importance to an employment relationship with the employee. By not wanting to accept that a significant component of that migration will be permanent, we are not thinking about the integration of those groups.’ De Haas also refers to the situation with Moroccan guest workers in the last century. ‘The integration problem at the time was partly rooted in the failure to recognize the permanence of that migration.’
This problem could be solved by providing good housing and ensuring that children can go to good schools. “We are in danger of creating a kind of new underclass of labor migrants who are not officially wanted, but for whom there is a labor demand in practice,” says the professor. He therefore misses a political debate on this issue. Vermeer also thinks such a debate is desirable.
The post first appeared on www.bnr.nl