There are 2.3 million migrant workers whose whereabouts are unknown in the Netherlands

As of now, there are 2.3 million migrant workers in the Netherlands who are unaccounted for.

What this means is that while they are registered through the RNI (non-resident’s registration) and have a B.S.N., their address is unknown, NOS reports.

Difficult to check for exploitation

Exploitation of migrant workers is not something new, and can happen quite often, especially in work in deposits, slaughterhouses and agricultural greenhouses. However, because many of the migrant workers do not have an address in the Netherlands, it is hard to verify if they are truly being exploited or not.

As such, it is also unclear if these migrant workers are still in the Netherlands, or have left for their home countries.

What is the RNI?

The way the RNI functions is for those who do not necessarily live in the Netherlands, but receive money here and therefore need a B.S.N., such as people who earn their pension from here. Therefore they do not need to have an address in the Netherlands where they are registered as a resident.

This system then makes it difficult to check out what the migrants are doing. Normally, they need to register to the municipality if they plan to stay after 4 months, but because there is no way of locating their whereabouts, chances of exploitation can be quite high.

A professor of human trafficking and globalization at the University of Tilburg, Cony Rijken, also shared her concern about the RNI, as it is a massive blind spot in the protection of migrants by making them an “invisible group”. She urges that we take into consideration the presence of these people in the country, as they are vulnerable to fraud and exploitation.

Should the government implement better policies to keep track of migrant workers in the Netherlands? Let us know in the comments.

Feature Image: NIOSH/Wikimedia Commons


Vlad Moca-Grama
Vlad Moca-Grama
Vlad was born and raised in Brasov, Romania and came to the Hague to study. When he isn't spending time missing mountains or complaining about the lack of urban exploration locations in the Netherlands, you can find him writing at Dutch Review.


  1. The Dutch government should implement stricter policies for migrant workers. There are companies in Netherlands that promise job opportunities in HORECA and do not intend to deliver. That’s what happened to me 8 months ago. I stayed in a hotel and worked as an “intern” in FOM. I was underpaid and treated like shit by that company. There are a lot of workers right now that work under these circumstances. I really hope that the Dutch government has a plan to solve this problem.


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