Massive fraud with foreign workers

Crooked foreign business people are finding new ways of bringing cheap foreign workers to Belgium. Most of the cheap labour is being bussed in from Eastern Europe.

The daily De Standaard reports that in many cases the east European workers are being hired through temping agencies abroad. Sometimes the workers enjoy the status of an independent businessman even though they really do not qualify.

Targeted checks by Belgium's social inspection service have revealed that in one in four cases infringements are being made to working conditions and pay.

Ludo Beck of the social inspection service fears that the abuse is far greater. The facts are hard to check: "For our information we are reliant on exchanges with foreign labour inspection services and foreign social security systems. Agreements now exist with several countries including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Luxembourg and Portugal."

Mr Beck notes that as east European workers are usually involved agreements with other east European countries than Poland should be a priority.