Labor migrants who become unemployed can now take their Dutch unemployment benefit for six months to another country, instead of the current three. That decision was made in Brussels yesterday after months of negotiations. The extension of the period is against the sore leg of the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Wouter Koolmees and the Dutch cabinet.
Exporting Dutch unemployment benefits leads to large-scale abuse in Poland, News Hour revealed last Monday. Poles can export their unemployment benefits for three months on the condition that they look for work there. But despite a thriving economy and high employment, less than one percent start working there. An important reason is the amount of the benefit, which is many times higher than the wages there.
EU social security reform
The extension of the period of exporting unemployment benefits to six months is part of a larger package of European social security reforms. For example, from now on labor migrants can already claim unemployment benefits after a month of working in the Netherlands. They may add their employment history in another EU country to this. In theory, people can pay many years of low premiums in one EU member state and then receive many years of high benefits in another EU country. In practice, this means that over the years Poland often pays much less premiums than Dutch people, and yet they are entitled to the same unemployment benefit.
Until now it had been arranged that labor migrants could claim unemployment benefits after just one day (plus the duration of their employment history). The period has now been extended to a month. But for the Netherlands, that one month is far from sufficient.
The coalition agreement states that the Netherlands wants migrant workers to have worked in the Netherlands for at least six months and paid premiums before they can apply for unemployment benefits. But that agreement in the coalition agreement has been killed.