Cooperation agreement with IND after successful Zuid-Limburg pilot for international employees
14 september 2021
Expat Centre Maastricht Region, the Municipality of Maastricht and 16 participating municipalities in the Maastricht region as well as the Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst (IND) have been conducting a pilot with a single government desk for international employees in the region since January 2020. After eighteen months, this combined service turned out to be so successful that the approach was continued and made concrete with a cooperation agreement.
The joint services in this pilot consist of:
- Fast track (accelerated registration) for EU and non-EU nationals
- One-stop-shop for international workers and their family members
- Face-to-face service for migrants who want to live and work in Zuid-Limburg: recording biometrics, issuing residence permits and residence stickers and, where necessary, providing information on Dutch immigration policy
Very high client satisfaction
During the pilot project, the service was extended from two days a month to three days a week. This made it possible to offer more services and to help more migrants in Zuid-Limburg close to home and in one location. Over 13,000 clients have since been assisted at the Maastricht council offices, where Expat Centre Maastricht Region is located. The average client satisfaction rating of both knowledge workers and companies is very high at over 9 out of 10. The results for the processing speed of the accelerated registration and decisions on applications of highly skilled migrants and their family members are also very positive; in the vast majority of cases, this was achieved within three days and two weeks respectively.
Fast and comprehensive service
Thanks to the presence of the IND in the Maastricht Region, the municipalities involved in the agreement can offer a very fast and comprehensive service for international knowledge workers and their family members and provide them with a warm welcome. Both clients and municipalities are very satisfied with this. It is also apparent that the number of recognised sponsors in the region has increased. Over 60% have made use of the services offered in the pilot. Thus, the pilot project contributes positively to the service provision to companies in the region and to the further development of Zuid-Limburg as a powerful knowledge region.
The positive results are reason for the IND to investigate whether this form of service provision can also be applied to other expat centres in the Netherlands. In Maastricht, it is being investigated whether even more expertise can be offered on-site in order to be able to directly answer the many and sometimes complex questions of clients.
Vivianne Heijnen, Alderman for Economy at Gemeente Maastricht: "The international character of the region means that we can and will attract many international employees to work here. This one-stop shop will also make the formalities a lot easier. The employers are very satisfied with it. More generally, this joining of forces will therefore lead to a strengthening of the business climate in our region. If companies see that we actively facilitate international labour migration, that contributes to a positive reputation."
Roelof Triemstra, IND’s Director of Service Provision: "The Netherlands wants to position itself as an appealing place to live and work for both international knowledge workers and highly educated people. That is why the IND started this pilot project together with various partners in Zuid-Limburg. By offering professionally-focussed services to our international clients, we want to contribute to strengthening the position of the Netherlands as a nation equipped to accommodate knowledge migration. As far as we are concerned, the pilot was successful in both respects. As Wethouder Ms Heijnen has pointed out, we served over 13,000 customers during the pilot, 95% of whom were (very) satisfied. In addition, the time involved in processing BRP registration as well as the approval of applications – normally between two to seven weeks – has been greatly accelerated. The number of recognised sponsors in the region has also increased. Finally, as an organisation we have gained valuable knowledge and experience from this pilot, which we will use for follow-up projects with other expat centres in other regions across the Netherlands."
The IND service point is located inside the council offices of Maastricht at Mosae Forum 10. It is accessible on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 09:00-12:30 and from 13:30-17:00 on Fridays. An appointment can be made online via the Maastricht International Centre (make an appointment with one of our partners).
Foto credits: Aron Nijs