No benefits for dismissed foreign workers in Caribbean Netherlands

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.

Invitation to live stream of public Central Committee and Island Council meetings
St. Maarten: 13 new COVID-19 cases, 7 recoveries confirmed

One comment

  1. Unemployment leads to losing income. No social welfare means no income. No income means no food. Hunger means finding other means of getting food. This means stealing. Stealing from the poor.
    To prevent a crime wave, if unemployed and no means of income, one must be send back to the country of origin.
    Police knows who the offenders are on our island. Please act!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.