Migrant workers in the Netherlands still find themselves in positions of precarity

Joao Jesus

Migrant workers in the Dutch agricultural sector experience unfair labour practices, including structurally poor wages and living standards, insecure contracts and hazardous working conditions.

A closer look into the Netherlands agricultural sector by researchers at the International Institute of Social Studies revealed that there are a variety of institutional, structural and associational mechanisms that disempower migrant workers.

After the Covid-19 pandemic placed migrant workers’ precarity in the spotlight, the Dutch government established the Aanjaagteam Bescherming Arbeidsmigranten (Migrant Worker Protection Taskforce) in May 2020. The Taskforce recently released a second set of recommendations (in Dutch), further opening up the discussion on how best to address the issue at hand.

The policy brief below (available in Dutch, English will be available shortly) contributes to this discussion with a number of recommendations that aim to strengthen the position of migrants in the whole agricultural chain. The brief was presented at a multi-stakeholder event in October 2020 attended, amongst others, by a representative of the Taskforce.

Download the policy brief

Download the policy brief

The policy brief is available in both English and Dutch. Please feel free to download it and share within your networks.

This policy brief is a result of the research conducted for the Netherlands chapters of the comparative study 'Are Agri-Food Workers Only Exploited in Southern Europe? Case Studies on Migrant Labour in Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden and the supplementary report 'COVID-19, Agri-food Systems, and Migrant Labour' authored by Karin Astrid Siegmann, Tyler Williams and Julia Quaedvlieg.

Related event

On 8 October 8, 2020 the Policy Brief was presented at a multi-stakeholder event with representatives from the Taskforce , the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs, Dutch trade union FNV and the sustainable agriculture movement.

The event involved a panel discussion featuring speakers from abovementioned stakeholder groups and included an opening speech by Jaap Uijlenbroek of the Migrant Workers Protection Taskforce and an opening statement from a migrant worker.

Watch a recording of the event.

Dr Karin Astrid Siegmann is Senior Lecturer in Gender and Labour Economics at ISS
PhD student
Julia Quaedvlieg is a PhD candidate at ISS
Tyler Williams
Tyler Williams is an MA graduate from ISS LinkedIn profile Tyler Williams
More information

For more information see the Migrant Labour in Dutch Agriculture: Regulated precarity research project page.

Dutch news report

Arbeidsmigranten beter beschermen

Related content
Report on precarious work in Europe

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