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Inclusive HR policy for immigrant workers desperately needed

Published: 26th September 2022 Last updated: 26th September 2022

In some industries, migrant workers are now a structural segment of the workforce. During the corona pandemic, they were shown to perform many essential functions. In companies' HR policies, however, this does not translate into appropriate care and attention. Dr. Jan Cremers, who specializes in labor migration, advocates a much more active role for HR management to improve the social protection of migrant workers and prevent abuse.

In many companies, the deployment of migrant workers is left to the planning department, resulting in an instrumental approach. Being treated like a number, however, does not exactly help the recruitment or establish a close connection, according to Jan Cremers. At the same time, employers praise the "work ethic" of this group of workers, without paying further attention to the motives that lead them to come to the Netherlands.  Polls among migrant workers make it clear, however, that they do have considerations that can play a role in developing a successful and more sustainable recruitment process.

HR policy

Cremers explored some areas of HR policy with migrant workers in mind. He argues that HR policy that takes this group into account should focus on careful recruitment and appointment, good remuneration and primary working conditions; attention to care and welfare and participation in society, and healthy and responsible housing and living conditions.

Specifically, this includes:

  • Working with bona fide recruitment intermediaries;
  • Reducing mismatches between educational attainment and job requirements;
  • Career and training guidance, induction into the workplace;
  • Ensuring that working conditions are met according to the collective labor agreement;
  • Provide support in obtaining social security benefits including health care;
  • Ensuring good working conditions and application of health and safety regulations;
  • Formulate binding conditions for housing and mediate housing searches;
  • Countering discrimination;
  • Assist access to Dutch basic services and provide local guidance to migrants.

Read more in the Journal of Labor Issues (Tijdschrift voor Arbeidsvraagstukken, in Dutch):

Inclusief hr-beleid voor arbeidsmigranten hard nodig