Number of people from Central and Eastern Europe doubled in half a decade

26/07/2011 15:00

Early 2011, nearly 200 thousand people from Central and Eastern Europe had registered as residents or workers in the Netherlands. Their number has more than doubled over the past five years. More than two in every three people from Central and Eastern Europe come from Poland.

Sharp growth since 2007

For people with the intention to stay in the Netherlands for an uninterrupted period of more than four months, registration in the population database of their municipality of residence (GBA) is obligatory. On 1 January this year, 117 thousand persons from one of the countries in Central and Eastern Europe were registered. Another 81 thousand Central and East European workers were registered, but did not occur in one of the municipal population databases.

Altogether, nearly 200 thousand persons from one of the countries in Central and Eastern Europe were registered in the Netherlands as residents or workers. Over the past five years, that number has nearly doubled. The number of unregistered workers from Central and Eastern Europe has increased fourfold over the same period.

Number of people from Central and Eastern Europe in the Netherlands, 1 January 2011

Number of people from Central and Eastern Europe in the Netherlands, 1 January 2011

Most Poles not registered in municipal databases

In a total of over 136 thousand, more than 70 thousand Poles have not registered in the GBA; 66 thousand have registered as residents. The figures applying to Bulgarians and Romanians are quite different: 27 thousand are registered in the GBA and just over one thousand are unregistered.

More than half of GBA-registered Central and East Europeans are native Poles, nearly one quarter were born in Bulgaria and Romania. Nearly 90 percent of unregistered workers are Poles and only 1 percent are nationals from Bulgaria or Romania. Possibly, this is because Romanians and Bulgarians still require an employment permit, if they want to work in the Netherlands. Since 1 May 2007, an employment permit is no longer required for Poles.

Number of people from Central and Eastern Europe by country of origin, 1 January 2011

Number of people from Central and Eastern Europe by country of origin, 1 January 2011

Many recent migrants

On 1 January 2010, more than two in every three GBA-registered people from Poland, Bulgaria and Romania had come to the Netherlands less than five years ago. Nearly half of people from other countries in Central and Eastern Europe – predominantly people from Hungary – had come to the Netherlands more than five years ago.  

First-generation people from Central and Eastern Europe by length of stay in the Netherlands, 1 January 2010

First-generation people from Central and Eastern Europe by length of stay in the Netherlands, 1 January 2010

Elma Wobma and Rik van der Vliet