Persons with a temporary work permit in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, who lose their job in these times of the coronavirus, will not receive subsidy or social welfare and have to return to their country of origin.
This was stated in a letter that State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops sent to the Dutch Parliament mid-October with regard to the Caribbean Netherlands Support and Recovery Package.
The Caribbean Netherlands National Government Department RCN, in particular the Social Affairs and Labour SZW unit, also relayed this message in a recent letter to dismissed employees receiving subsidy from the SZW emergency regulation for the Caribbean Netherlands. In his letter to the Second Chamber last month, Knops explained that the temporary subsidy regulation wage cost and loss of earnings was adapted in some areas to bring the protection level of the regulation more in line with the regular social security. One of the adaptations concerns the requirement of legal residency. Added to the definition of a dismissed employee has been that it must concern a person who has legal residency in a public entity. This additional requirement is especially relevant in the situation of a dismissed employee who is a foreigner, and of whom the work permit has expired, Knops explained.
Under normal circumstances, a foreigner leaves the public entity and returns to his or her country of origin once the work permit has expired. It does not befit the situation to give a foreigner, who is confronted with a loss of employment as a result of the corona crisis, the right to subsidy, Knops continued to explain.
Exceptions arc possible, but very limited. The head of the RCN-unit SZW can decide in exceptional cases to offer support via `onderstand’ (social welfare), for example when a foreigner cannot leave the public entity due to air traffic restrictions.
According to the letter that the RCN-unit SZW distributed, the residency right expires of persons with a work permit who have been dismissed and who have insufficient means to sustain themselves, and who have not resided permanently on the islands for a continuous period of five years. The social security system does not provide for these cases, and the person will not receive social welfare or `onderstand.’
Things will change for dismissed persons in general, also for permanent residents who do not need a work permit. Under the extended Support and Recovery Package, the subsidy duration for dismissed persons is now being limited to three months. The subsidy regulation will terminate on January 1, 2021. This means that the dismissed employee will receive the last subsidy payment at the end of December 2020.
Until now, the subsidy duration had not been limited. As such, the dismissed employee who became unemployed as a result of the coronavirus had a considerable advantageous position compared to the dismissed person whose unemployment has a different (socioeconomic) reason, Knops stated in his recent letter. Having the situation continue was considered undesirable because it would result in a growing difference between dismissed persons, plus in this manner the protection level of the regulation will be brought more in line with the regular social security.
Dismissed employees have to actively seek work. Labour mediation is available to coach these persons into new work. Social welfare or `onderstand’ is only available if a person cannot find a new job. Another condition is that the person must have resided in the Caribbean Netherlands for a continuous period of at least five years.
The Daily Herald.