Discrimination is widespread in the Netherlands
Submitted 3 years 8 months ago by roberta.
Despite the common image of the Netherlands as a liberal and tolerant nation, discrimination is widespread in the Netherlands. It exists as an underlying component of the nation’s self-centered culture. The Dutch are probably the most ethnocentric people in Europe. A common sentiment among Dutch people is if you don’t like it, then you should leave. Results of research conducted by Eurostat and OECD and published in the Volkskrant indicates that the Netherlands ranks near the top of countries where non-EU citizens in search of job opportunities experience difficulties. Statistical analysis indicates that the Netherlands is second only to Sweden among EU countries with unemployed non-EU citizens. Sweden, however, accepts three times more non-EU citizens than the Netherlands. The study indicated that posterities of Turks, Moroccans, Surinam, and people of the Dutch Antilles have a higher chance of being unemployed than Dutch natives or their western counterparts.
Allochtonen is a term used in the Netherlands to refer to foreigners with no western background and at least one foreign-born parent. The number of allochtonen in full-time employment in the Netherlands is only 49.5% as of 2015. This number is significantly lower for immigrant women who face more difficulties than their male counterparts. The disproportionate unemployment numbers for immigrants is not a new phenomenon in the Netherlands. The pattern can be traced back to the rise of Europe. Dutch statistics are notoriously difficult to analyze due to a fundamental flaw in their set-up. The numbers do not differentiate between native-born and immigrants, but instead distinguish between native-born autochtonen, western allochtonen, and non-western allochtonen. Much recent effort has been placed on civic integration as opposed to labor-market integration. Emphasis is placed on language mastery and cultural and societal norms.
The integration program has recently undergone a philosophical change from a voluntary program to obligatory to assist with passing the required integration exam. However, statistics do not support the notion that participation in the integration program leads to a higher employment rate among the allochtonen. Denmark, with many of the same issues as the Netherlands has embraced early exposure of non-western immigrants to the labor force with none of the problems of the Netherlands. An overhaul of the program to promote labor integration instead of acting as an obstacle to it would be the most desirable outcome.
Education levels also play into the complicated formula as well and it would be naïve to downplay this aspect of the problem. The employment rate for highly educated non-western immigrants is comparable to the rest of the EU, but this is not so for lower educated immigrants. The procedures for the recognition of foreign qualifications and degrees is transparent and clear when compared with most EU countries, leading to a low percentage of overqualification employment when compared to other nations.
Immigrants, although less likely to be employed are also less likely to receive benefits from the government. The market system is designed to help find employment for benefit recipients, pushing the immigrants further down the line for employment assistance.
The Dutch society, with rapid ethnocentrism is a formula for continued failure. Immigrants make up only 10% of the total Dutch population. This includes guest-worker migrants, migration from the nation’s colonial past, humanitarian relocations, and EU migration. Despite the underlying discrimination faced by many of these arrivals, the Netherlands has a friendly family immigration policy and is a destination for asylum-seekers and their families. Most of these immigrants arrive due to reasons other than labor-related issues making an overhaul of the current system less likely.
Although the Dutch integration system for immigrants has its discriminatory underpinnings, the country as a whole has improved since the 1990’s with the introduction of diversity and anti-discriminatory policies.