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Recruiting Immigrant Workers: The Netherlands 2016

image of Recruiting Immigrant Workers: The Netherlands 2016

The Dutch labour migration system has undergone substantive changes in recent years. To induce a transition to more high-skilled migration, a programme based on salary thresholds has grown in volume while a programme based on work permits after a labour market test has shrunk. New programmes target international graduates either of Dutch educational institutions or of selected institutions abroad. Changes to immigration procedures have shifted responsibility to migrants' employers and have greatly reduced processing times. This review first examines the composition of labour migration to the Netherlands, in the context of present and expected demand in the Dutch labour market. Following a discussion of various programmes and procedures, the review assesses how labour migration contributes to the strategic development of sectors and to employment in regions. It then explores the determinants for the retention of high-skilled migrants and for the integration of international graduates into the Dutch labour market.

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Foreword and acknowledgements

This review of the Netherlands’ labour migration policy is the seventh of a series conducted by the OECD Secretariat as a follow-up to the 2009 High Level Policy Forum on International Migration. The rationale for this initiative was the recent growth in labour migration observed in many countries and the likelihood that recourse to labour migration would increase in the context of demographic ageing. Prior to the 2008-09 economic crisis, many countries had made substantial changes to labour migration policies with a view to facilitating recruitment from abroad. With the introduction of these changes, more prominence was accorded to the question of their effectiveness and more broadly, to the objectives of labour migration policy in general. Although the economic crisis put a damper on labour migration movements, it did not stop them entirely, and interest in labour migration policy is unlikely to diminish in the near future.

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