Client: Ben & Jerry's

Half Tubs of Ice Cream for Half-Baked Policy

Boomerang fights for the rights of refugee workers, together with Radboud University, DELITELABS and Ben & Jerry’s.

Half tubs of ice cream against half-baked policy” focuses on asylum seekers’ right to work in the Netherlands. Work is allowed after six months in the asylum procedure for a period of up to 24 weeks per year. This policy not only violates European law but comes at a time where personnel shortages are at an all time high. 

Currently, after a six-month waiting period, people waiting to apply for asylum are allowed to work a maximum of 24 weeks per year. A collective of scientists, NGOs, experts and employers have been pleading for years to lift the 24-week requirement. They note that current Dutch policy and the complex procedure to apply for a work permit create unnecessary barriers for both asylum seekers and employers. Currently, only 4% of asylum seekers who are allowed to work apply for a permit. 

“The labor market is eager for manpower, and work contributes to maintaining independence for asylum seekers’ integration opportunities and motivation. It also provides an opportunity to retain vocational skills, and reduces the likelihood that asylum seekers will later rely on welfare,” said Tesseltje de Lange, professor of Migration Law at Radboud University.


A petition was started and handed over to to the Tweede Kamer on June 6th. The petition calls for the removal of barriers that hinder effective access to labor.


Fleur Osté of Ben & Jerry’s: “Our mission is to make the best ice cream in the fairest way, with consideration and care for people and the planet. Ben & Jerry’s has been offering workplaces to newcomers for years through the Up Collective and that’s how we discovered for ourselves how complicated work permit applications in Netherlands can be. With a handy toolkit, we now help other employers with this. We are also fighting for the rights of newcomers in the Netherlands with campaigns such as “Together for Refugees” and “Protect teenagers on the run.” Our current goal is to get the right to work for asylum seekers on the political agenda. After all, everyone has the right to fair access to work.