Asylum seekers are now allowed to work in the Netherlands for more than 24 weeks per year. That The Council of State has the final decision released on Wednesday.
Until now, asylum seekers were allowed to work a maximum of 24 weeks per year. However, according to the Council, this requirement prevents “effective access” for asylum seekers to the labor market. The UWV may therefore no longer apply this requirement when issuing work permits.
The restriction is also contrary to European law, according to the Council of State. The European Reception Directive obliges EU member states to offer asylum seekers effective access to the labor market. The aim of that directive is to promote the independence of asylum seekers. The Council is of the opinion that the limitation of the number of weeks that asylum seekers are allowed to work is contrary to this.
The court in Arnhem ruled last April that the UWV may not refuse a work permit if an asylum seeker wants to work longer. According to the court, the 24-week requirement was an unnecessary restriction on the labor market. In addition, working during the asylum procedure would promote integration in the Netherlands after status has been granted.
The UWV and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment appealed. The 24-week requirement would prevent asylum seekers from getting the impression that they have a chance of obtaining a permanent residence permit. Pending the ruling of the Council of State, the 24-week requirement remained in effect.
The UWV said in a response that it was “satisfied” with the ruling, because it provides clarity to asylum seekers and employers. The abolition of the 24-week requirement could also provide “relief” to the tightness on the labor market. Outgoing Minister Karien van Gennip (Social Affairs, CDA) writes that asylum seekers contribute “to our society” and learn the language faster through the ruling.
The current work permits of asylum seekers must now be extended, the UWV says. The benefits agency already took this ruling by the Council of State into account and can therefore start immediately. The end date of the permit is now linked to the end of the residence status.
Asylum seekers are in principle allowed to work six months after arrival in the Netherlands. But in practice they encounter limitations. Outgoing Minister Karien van Gennip (Social Affairs, CDA) left here research to do. The 24-week requirement turned out to be one of the biggest limitations. Because employers are often looking for long-term staff, the requirement makes it less attractive for them to hire asylum seekers.
The asylum seeker wants to work, but the 24-week requirement gets in the way
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