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By Sofia Stuart Leeson | EURACTIV.com
07-09-2022
Employment agencies in the Netherlands, along the border area of Germany, are buying up homes in Germany and renting them out to migrant workers due to the lack of affordable housing in the Netherlands. The houses are often found to be in deplorable conditions.  [Shutterstock/defotoberg]

Migrant workers in the Netherlands are living across the border in Germany, often in deteriorating conditions, Dutch media NRC reported.
Employment agencies in the Netherlands, along the border area of Germany, are buying up homes in Germany and renting them out to migrant workers due to the lack of affordable housing in the Netherlands. The houses are often found to be in deplorable conditions.
“Employment agencies buy houses, often from private individuals, and then sometimes place 11 to 15 migrant workers there. They pay about the same rent here as in the Netherlands, while the housing costs are lower. So it really pays off,” Mayor Peter Hinze of Emmerich told NRC.
Emmerich is a town of about 30,000 inhabitants, one of ten of whom is Romanian or Polish. Hinze said that the amount of labour migrants living in the town had increased drastically over the last couple of years, and almost all of his Eastern European citizens travel to the Netherlands for work.
Hinze added that the condition of these homes is concerning. “They live in houses where you don’t want to die,” Hinze told NRC. “Employment agencies buy the cheapest houses, which often have defects, and hardly fix them.”
In the district of Kreis Borken, a collaboration of 17 German border municipalities and 380,000 citizens, district board member Elisabeth Schwenzow also says there are problems. “[Migrant workers] can stay under the radar here. Control of Dutch authorities is simply more difficult if people live abroad, employment agencies can then more easily charge high rents and exploit people in this way,” she told NRC.
“The Netherlands earns the money, and we have the problems,” said Hinze.
According to German municipalities, the only way to solve the problem is for the Netherlands to step in and do something like have the migrants work directly with employers rather than agencies, making it less likely for agencies to house them in cheap accommodation across the border.

source

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