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Majority of migrants from EU are employed12 March 2013, by Mark McDaid
The national statistics bureau in the Netherlands, CBS, has analysed the number of migrants who have moved to the Netherlands from other EU states, and investigated how many of these people are claiming benefits from the Dutch state.
New EU Member States
The investigation has revealed that some 600.000 people from other EU countries live in the Netherlands, with the majority of these coming from long-standing members of the union.
In the past five years, however, there have been a total of 153.000 EU nationals emigrating to the Netherlands, and a large majority of these people have arrived from the newer or candidate EU member states in the centre and east of the continent, such as Poland, Romania or Bulgaria.
The research into benefit claimants among this group has revealed that only 20.000 are claiming unemployment or welfare benefits in the Netherlands. Some 73 percent of migrants from the 10 new member states are in employment, compared with only 51 percent of people from southern states, and 52 percent of people from countries such as Belgium, Germany and France.
The statistics were prepared at the request of social affairs minister, Lodewijk Asscher of the PvdA, who has been pursuing a controversial policy-line on immigration in the past weeks.
His suggestion that all immigrants be forced to sign a "participation contract" has drawn angry responses from the expatriate community, prompting a prominent Dutch professor to accuse him of a "them and us" thinking on the issue of immigration.
Though the minister now concedes that the number of benefit claimants from EU member states is low, he still feels that the government should act in order to deter people from coming to the Netherlands in order to take advantage of the welfare state.