According to D66 party chairman Jan Paternott, the Netherlands should focus not less, but more on labor migration. He said this at FD last weekend. According to Paternotte, this is necessary to keep the Dutch knowledge economy going, and if the Netherlands does not do this, the Netherlands could follow the same path as the UK with Brexit.
However, the question remains whether D66 can find supporters for this position within the alliance. They insist on limiting the flow of immigrants. Still, Paternott describes his remarks: “What I basically wanted to do was issue a warning,” he said. I get the impression that the immigration debate could be derailed. and that you see now already that one after another is making a statement, which in itself I understand. But we have two large neighboring countries that use a different approach, and we can learn a lot from that.
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Paternote specifically refers to the strategy used by the United Kingdom. There is a lot of focus on control and containment, and that has a huge negative impact on the populations there, according to Paternot. “At the same time, they knew this was going to lead to huge deficits, and now you can see that everywhere in the economy,” he continues. Next year, the average Slovene will be better off than the average Brit. Poverty there is increasing sharply and there are very long waiting lists in the care sector. Then I think: When it comes to labor migration, please let us be honest with each other. We should not think that we can do without labor migration, because there are 40,000 migrant workers working in health care alone.
And he confirms that the same applies to the construction sector, for example. So you can talk about how you want to deal with immigration in the future, but then you have to do it on the basis of the facts and the work you no longer want to do in the Netherlands, for example. Of course you can.’
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How different is the German approach? This is exactly where – as with the Germans – the focus is on labor migration. They plan for that too. They also ask themselves how they can bring migrant workers to Germany, or how asylum seekers can find work more quickly. We also know in the Netherlands that there are too many asylum seekers, so if we could get them to work, less labor migration would be required.
So Paternot’s goal is to convince Rutte of his point of view. “I will do my best, because I think it is only necessary in the Netherlands,” he continues. “That we in the Netherlands take a sober look at immigration and that we do not lose ourselves in statements about, for example, that we have stopped bringing foreign students to the Netherlands.”
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It is precisely these students, Paternot says, that are of global significance. “I was in Eindhoven on Friday, where the fastest growing company in the country is located; ASML. But also other smart companies like Philips and other Brainport companies. And this is exactly what these students need, because they are often based in Eindhoven. And not all of us train many technicians who They need them there in the Netherlands because the company is growing so fast, so it’s very important.
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