Netherlands: Immigrants hard hit by economic crisis

Netherlands: Immigrants hard hit by economic crisis

In the nine month from October 2008 to June 2009, unemployment among ethnic Dutch increased by 0.7%. Among non-Western immigrants (Surinamese, Turks, Moroccans) it went up by 3.5%, according to data from Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

In recent years immigrants had an easier time getting work, but since the fall, the gain quickly evaporated. The number of unemployed immigrants went up from 7.7% in the fall to 11.2% in Q2 of 2009.

Additional, there are great regional difference: In Friesland (22% unemployed), Overijssel (18), Groningen (16) and North-Brabant (15) and Limburg , immigrants have more difficulties finding a job than in the rest of the country.

According to director Sadik Harchaoui of the multicultural institute Forum, there are various reasons for the crisis hits the immigrants harder. He says that since 2005 many immigrants started working [in 2005 16.4% were unemployed]. Since they haven't been working for long, they're the first to be kicked out during reorganizations.

Moreover, immigrants have a harder time finding temporary work, since they're pushed aside by the better educated ethnic Dutch who've just lost their job. In Q2 there were 22,000 new temp jobs, but they were mostly filled by ethnic Dutch.

Forum has no evidence that discrimination plays a role in the high rate of job loss.

Harchaoui is very concerned about unemployment among immigrant boys, which grew from 14% to 21% in nine months (among 15-25 year olds). He says that in the major cities it gets to almost 30%. The UWV social security agency and the temp agencies should work hard to turn the tide, since once the recession is over, we would have a hard core of unemployed without experience or sufficient schooling.

FNV (Federation of Dutch Trade Unions) is concerned about the results of the study. Spokesperson Harrie Lindelauff says: "This is a bad development, we've been saying for decades that the workplace should be a reflection of society. But the HR departments within the businesses obviously think differently. They're thinking about hiring and firing. From the CBS data it seems that we can't speak of equal opportunities and a fair share."

Source: BN/DeStem (Dutch)

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