Netherlands may restrict access to social security benefits to immigrants

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The Dutch Government will look at introducing new restrictions on social security benefits to immigrants, the website reports.

The Netherlands' Social Affairs State Secretary Henk van Hoof said on March 9 that there would be particular emphasis on restricting access to unemployment benefits and old age pensions. Under the scheme, immigrants to the Netherlands will be asked to pay a lump sum prior to entering the country, with those not doing so being refused access to the Netherlands pension scheme.

While Dutch nationals start accruing their old age pensions from the age of 15, immigrants gain 2 percent of the pension for every year spent in the country. This means that an immigrant arriving at age 30 and working until they are 65 would have built up 70 percent of their pension. The minister's proposals would mean that immigrants would have to pay a "catch-up" rate to overcome this difference in pensions.

The Dutch Cabinet will also consider increasing the period it takes for an immigrant to gain full residency rights based on having a Dutch partner from three to five years. There may be an exemption to this requirement for those immigrants who actively integrate into Dutch society. Also, immigrants appealing against decisions refusing the right to reside in the Netherlands will not have access to social security benefits.