Exploitation Free City

In the recent “Invisible” research conducted by the Ombudsman Metropool Amsterdam, the living conditions and situation of undocumented migrants in Amsterdam and the Netherlands were examined. The research explicitly focused on the vulnerability of undocumented youth, migrant workers, and the elderly in terms of healthcare, housing, education, and exploitation.

In addition to presenting the issues, the report also includes concrete recommendations directed towards policymakers to improve the living conditions of undocumented migrants and prevent further exploitation. During this program, we will engage in discussions with Alderman Rutger Groot Wassink, Ombudsman Metropool Amsterdam Arre Zuurmond, and various advocacy groups and organizations representing undocumented migrants and policymakers to discuss how to implement the recommendations from the report into practice.

Background: The motivation behind the Ombudsman’s research was the often distressing stories he received from undocumented migrants. The outbreak of the coronavirus further highlighted their vulnerable situation. Through interviews with undocumented migrants and the professionals supporting them, he gained a clearer understanding of the living conditions and specific issues faced by various groups of undocumented migrants. Collaborating with organizations such as healthcare institutions, universities, and colleges, efforts are being made to improve the position of undocumented migrants in Amsterdam and the Netherlands.

In Amsterdam, according to the Ombudsman, there are estimated to be between 10,000 and 30,000 undocumented migrants. This is a rough estimate as they are hardly visible to the authorities. Many lead as invisible a life as possible out of fear of deportation. They contribute to the informal economy and rely on their own social networks to find jobs, housing, or seek assistance. The research highlights that particularly young people, migrant workers, and the elderly require extra attention. They often face challenging situations due to their vulnerable position, impacting education, legal protection, healthcare, and exploitation.

More information about the program can be found here.