The Netherlands is looking for staff in Spain

by Lorraine Williamson
staff wanted in the Netherlands

While Spain is struggling with the highest unemployment rate in the eurozone, the Netherlands is trying to find a solution in Spain for the large shortage of staff. The Dutch cabinet focuses on unemployed French and Spaniards, which does not sit well with several politicians. 

Sometimes the labour market is a great paradox: Restaurants in tourist areas in Spain sometimes have to close due to staff shortages. But at the same time more than 3 million Spaniards are without work. On the other hand, there are countries that make an emergency move abroad to find workers. 

The latter is the case in the Netherlands, where the government is attempting to find personnel in Spain. The Netherlands has great difficulty filling the thousands of vacancies in agriculture, catering and the transport sector due to a lack of candidates. 

Contrast between unemployment figures Spain and the Netherlands 

Currently, Spain’s unemployment rate stands at 13.1%, more than double the eurozone average (6.6%). This extremely high figure in Spain is in stark contract with the percentage of 3.3% of the labour force who is unemployed in the Netherlands. This percentage in the Netherlands means that there are even more vacancies than the unemployed. For every 133 vacancies, there are 100 job seekers. 

Focus on Spanish and French unemployed as staff in the Netherlands 

To create more demand, the Dutch government is working on a plan. A plan that goes beyond their own national borders. In the plans, Minister Karien van Gennip of Social Affairs and Employment proposes to include Spanish and French job seekers in the desired target group in order to fill vacancies in the Netherlands. 

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Fighting unemployment as one Europe 

She tells Dutch media that the labour shortage is quite visible in daily life in the Netherlands. Well-known examples are the chaos at Schiphol and cancelled trains and buses in public transport. “However, there are sufficient workers in Europe and since youth unemployment is particularly high in other countries, it is not a bad idea to work more as one Europe,” says Van Gennip. 

The need for workers in the Netherlands is so great that the Ministry has organised an information day on how to enter the Dutch labour market. 

Focus on Spanish and French young people 

Karien van Gennip indicates that she feels primarily responsible for getting the Dutch unemployed into work. However, in view of the labour shortage on the market, she believes that the Netherlands will also need labour migrants in the future. She focuses on school-leavers and Spanish and French young people from neighbourhoods in large suburbs. She believes paid work can ensure that this target group stays on the right track or gets back on track. 

Dutch politicians not all enthusiastic 

Not all colleagues from The Hague are thrilled about this idea. In recent years there has been a lot of talk about the arrival and handling of labour migrants and various politicians are concerned about the arrival of problem young people from France and Spain who come to the Netherlands. Geert Wilders quickly expressed his opinion on Twitter: “So that’s what the cabinet wants: the Dutch farmers out and the Algerians and Moroccans from France in. #newelections ” 

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