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Dutch Election Spotlight: Key Issues Impacting HR Policies for International Talent Attraction

November 7th, 2023

On November 22, the Netherlands is gearing up for the nationwide elections. With significant changes in the line-ups of participating parties and the current challenges facing the nation, there is more focus than ever on the substance of the political agendas and whether parties will follow through on their promises. Issues such as housing, immigration policy, healthcare, and the purchasing power of Dutch citizens take center stage.

In this update, we shed light on several topics currently dominating the election campaigns. These issues, if altered, will have an impact on HR policies for attracting new international employees.

Netherlands' Housing Market Tops List of Key Election Issues

The Dutch housing market is currently grappling with significant challenges. First-time homebuyers are struggling to find affordable homes, waiting times for social housing are lengthy, and private rental prices are often beyond reach. While various political parties agree on the urgent need for new housing construction to meet growing demand, it presents a substantial challenge. Stricter mortgage regulations have led to renters being trapped in expensive rental properties, unable to purchase homes.

The rental market is disrupted with high private rental costs and long waitlists for social housing. Different political parties propose a range of measures to address these issues, including mandating a minimum percentage of social housing in new construction projects, promoting fixed rental contracts in the commercial rental market, and reducing nitrogen emissions to facilitate new construction. Some parties advocate for lower rents and experiments with income-linked rent, while others call for more social housing for Dutch citizens, revisions to allocation priorities for status holders, and increased rent subsidies.

Housing issues rank at the top of the list of key election themes, with 59% of panel members considering it a top priority. Particularly, young people face difficulties in finding affordable housing, and the problem affects various age groups, exacerbating income inequalities. There's indignation over the allocation of housing to asylum seekers while 'locals' have to wait for years.

The Feasibility of a Migration Cap in the Netherlands

The viability of a migration cap in the Netherlands is under discussion, covering both asylum and labor migration. Several political parties advocate for the establishment of an annual maximum number of admitted migrants. However, there are challenges associated with this proposal.

Currently, the focus is on admitting Dutch expatriates returning to their home country and labor migrants from the European Union. Nevertheless, Dutch policy allows the rejection of migrants only if the Netherlands exits the European Union, which presents practical complexities.

Defining and enforcing a strict migration cap proves problematic due to the dynamic nature of migration, including unforeseen events like conflicts and wars. It is challenging to predict when such situations may occur, emphasizing the need for a flexible migration system to effectively respond to such events.

Furthermore, there is a noticeable lack of attention to labor migration in the election programs, despite the complex issues related to it, such as working conditions and addressing personnel shortages in various sectors.
In summary, as the debate on migration caps continues, the complexity of migration, both for asylum seekers and labor migrants, underscores the need for a comprehensive reconsideration and careful evaluation of the feasibility of such caps.