The Netherlands has restricted the number of working migrants it will accept
from the 10 eastern and southern European countries joining the European Union
(EU) this May to 22,000.
The announcement is the latest in a string of such caps imposed by existing
member states (made by Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Spain), ahead of
the expansion of the EU.
They have taken advantage of a transition rule allowing them to restrict the
movement of citizens from the new member countries until May 2006.
So far, only Britain and Ireland have said that they will fully open their
labour markets to these new EU citizens.
The Dutch decision reverses The Netherlands’ previous laissez faire stance.
Dutch ex-patriot website Expatica.com reported deputy prime minister Gerrit
Zalm as having said that Dutch borders would "be opened, but not
His centre-right coalition particularly wants to deter large numbers of
Poles moving to The Netherlands, said the website, although the Dutch
Government has promised to review the cap in May 2005 if the limit is reached
in the meantime.
Denmark and Finland are also expected to restrict eastern European
immigration over the next two years.