Large proportion of labour migrants leave the Netherlands within four years

About 40 percent of labour migrants, who have come to the Netherlands since 1999, leave the country within four years. The lowest and top incomes are more prone to leave the Netherlands than persons living on middle incomes. Self-employed labour migrants and benefit recipients are more reluctant to leave the Netherlands than employed labour migrants. Labour migrants with partners and young children also tend to stay.

40 percent of labour migrants leave within four years

Some 20 percent of labour migrants, who have settled in the Netherlands since 1999, left the country within two years and 40 percent within four years. More than 60 of them come from EU countries. A vast majority are employed during their entire stay in the Netherlands.

Approximately 93 percent of leavers work in paid employment, as against 88 percent of those who stay. Self-employed labour migrants and social benefit recipients appear to have stronger ties with the Netherlands than labour migrants working in paid employment; among those who stay, 3 percent are self-employed and 4 percent live on social benefits, as opposed to only 1 percent of self-employed and 2 percent of benefit recipients among those who leave.

More top incomes leave the Netherlands

More people in the lowest and highest income brackets than people in the middle income brackets leave the Netherlands. Nearly half (48 percent) of leavers live on incomes under 1,000 euro a month, as against 26 percent of those who stay. The percentage of top incomes among leavers (18) is higher than among stayers (16).

Monthly incomes of leavers and stayers, 1 January 2006


Divorced men and widowed women less prepared to leave

Partners and school-going children are also factors that prevent people from leaving. Migrants with partners and/or young children have to take the other family members into consideration when they decide to stay or leave. Divorced men and widowed women are less prepared to migrate than singles: divorced men because they may have children living with their ex-wives, widowed women because they are eligible for social benefits.

Partner status and parenthood of leavers and stayers, 1 January 2006


Ruben van Gaalen (Statistics Netherlands) and Govert Bijwaard (Erasmus University Rotterdam)