Netherlands: Rotterdam to keep out poorer immigrants

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The port city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands is trying to prevent underpriveleged immigrants from moving to the city by refusing public housing to anyone who does not earn a salary of at least twenty percent above the minimum income level. In addition to this, Rotterdam City Council aims to put a cap on asylum seekers who wish to become residents of Rotterdam.

Statistics show that almost half of all immigrants in Rotterdam have migrated from other cities in the Netherlands. The City Council claims that these people are often not integrated and usually require support from the government. To avoid this cost, the city is taking measures to put "balance" back into the city. Apparently, 62% of residents of Rotterdam supported the idea of restricting the number of immigrants allowed to live in the city, while 25% were opposed to the measures.

Rotterdam will also ask Dutch authorities for an exemption from accepting asylum seekers with residence permits over the next four years, which would then free up 400 houses in the city and surrounding suburbs. These houses will be offered to people who are having trouble finding accommodation.

Although there is no national legislation surrounding the issue, Rotterdam claims that such legislation is necessary to create a better balance of migrants across the country and it will work in closely with the national government to develop its action plan.

More detailed plans will be drafted for each neighbourhood in early 2004 and will start with the suburb of Tarweijk. The matter will come before the Lower House of Parliament.

See more in our Netherlands immigration section.