Real hospitality and decent living conditions for international workers. How this Dutch recruitment agency does things differently.

Date published 5 February 2024
Date modified 5 February 2024

Fortunately there are a handful of agencies that take a more effective approach. Specifically in favor of the international worker. LabourLink is one of them. Every international worker that finds a job through LabourLink, is provided with decent housing for a reasonable price and personal guidance.

The idea behind LabourLink comes from Nigel Wood, who came to The Netherlands in the 90s as an international worker himself. We asked him where his commitment to helping international workers comes from. 

With what kind of mission did you start LabourLink? 

“Back in the 90s I noticed that international workers would not receive any kind of assistance from the companies they worked for. Someone in Schotland who just got hired for a job in The Netherlands simply got a message saying: report tomorrow at this address in IJsselstein. Have fun and good luck. 

I saw a lot of guys arrive over time and they all had the same problem. Most of them had no idea how to get around in their new country and they didn’t have living accommodation. There must be a better way to help these guys, is what I thought. That’s how LabourLink started.”

So what is it that LabourLink does nowadays for internationals? 

“The philosophy of this agency is that we take care of the people that work for us. I always try to imagine if I would have to move to Spain for a new job. I wouldn’t know how to get around, how to get health insurance and how public transport works. We make sure that we guide internationals in their first couple of weeks and to help them settle in. We arrange a pick-up service from the airport, we introduce them to their new employer and we provide them with decent housing not too far away from work.” 

What kind of housing do you provide for workers? 

“Most of the houses and apartments that we rent contain a shared living room, a decent kitchen and modern facilities. Everyone has their own private room that comes with a bed, television, wardrobe and fridge. The other facilities are shared with not more than four people. For a weekly amount of €165,- all the rent is covered. Water, gas and electricity included.” 

These prices are quite low compared to the average rent. What’s the catch?

“There isn't." We are able to offer these kinds of prices because we pay a little bit of the rent ourselves. Offering housing actually costs us money, but that’s okay. We are not providing accomodation as a means to earn money, we are doing so because we believe every international worker deserves a decent place to live.”  

LabourLink has been in business for about 20 years. What can you tell us about the experiences from the internationals that work for you?

“At the moment we have about 25 different nationalities working for us. Some of them have been with us for almost the full 20 years. Soon we will have our first employees that will retire. That really tells me we are on the right track and that we are doing the right thing.

“It has happened more than once that our employees are seriously overwhelmed when we show them their new accommodation. Some of them had been living in containers or in small bungalow houses with hardly any privacy. The positive responses that we receive tell us that we are really helping people.”