People from Poland and seven other new EU member states will be free to work in the Netherlands from 1 January 2007. First the government plans to take measures to prevent unfair competition.

This is what the government has decided in response to a
proposal by State Secretary Henk van Hoof of Social Affairs and

As of 1 January 2007, free movement of workers from
the new EU member states the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia,
Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia will apply in the Netherlands.
That means that people from these countries will be free to work in the
Netherlands, and they must receive the same treatment and payment as
Dutch workers.

A transitional arrangement currently applies under which people from
these countries need a work permit if they want to work in the
Netherlands. The government had to decide by 1 May 2006 whether to
prolong this arrangement.

The transitional arrangement can be prolonged until 30 April 2009 at
the latest. Ultimately, free movement of workers from these countries
will be inevitable. For the government, it was a question of choosing
the best time to introduce it.

1 January 2007 was a good time, because demand for labour is
expected to have increased by then. Further postponement could result
in more frequent abuses and an increase in the number of self-employed
workers coming from the new member states, since they are already free
to set up businesses in the Netherlands.

The government does not think that local
people’s jobs will come under threat, since that has not happened in
countries where free movement of workers already applies. Seasonal
workers from the new EU member states already do jobs for which too few
people can be found in the Netherlands.
In the first year, an
average of between 53,000 and 63,000 workers from the new EU member
states are expected to come to the Netherlands. That is approximately
23,500 to 33,500 more than now. Seasonal workers will make up the
largest group. Together, the new migrants will probably do 0.4% to 0.5%
of the jobs available in the Netherlands.

The government is taking measures to
ensure equal treatment and pay for the workers from the new member
states and to prevent unfair competition.
1. he Labour Inspectorate
will carry out more frequent checks to ensure employers are paying the
statutory minimum wage. Anyone failing to do so will receive a fine.
This measure will entail an amendment to the law, which will enter into
force on 1 January 2007.
2. Where wages are below the minimum,
employees and trade unions will be able to take employers to court to
obtain a lawful wage.
3. The minimum wage will be expressed as a minimum hourly wage. An amendment to current law is now being prepared.
The Tax Administration and Labour Inspectorate will work more closely
together to tackle the problem of illegal working. They will also check
whether foreign workers wrongly present themselves as self-employed so
that they can work for less than the minimum wage.
5. To prevent
fraud with tax and social security contributions, agencies in the
Netherlands and other EU countries will make arrangements for
exchanging information.
6. Workers from the new EU countries must
receive decent information about their employment rights. The
government will give employers and employees the relevant support.

From 1 May 2006 to 31 December 2006
Up to 31
December 2006, people from the new EU member states will only be able
to work in the Netherlands if they have a work permit.
As of 1 May
2006, it will be easier to apply for one. The Centres for Work and
Income will no longer have to investigate whether anyone from the
Netherlands or the other EU member states can do the job instead. For
employers, the procedure will therefore take no more than two weeks.

Source:  Cabinet press release 31.03.2006