IND extends services for foreign nationals who want to work, live or study in South Limburg9 January 2020
Expat Centre Maastricht Region, Gemeente Maastricht and the Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst – IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service) have initiated a pilot to provide fast tracked registration procedures and immigration service provisions in the region.
Starting this week, international knowledge workers, scientific researchers, highly educated professionals, start-up entrepreneurs, foreign investors and their families have access to fast tracked administrative procedures pertaining to their registration in the Netherlands and the collection of their residence documents at Expat Centre Maastricht Region. Prior to this pilot, applicants had to travel to Eindhoven to benefit from the Fast Track process.
During the year-long pilot, Expat Centre Maastricht Region, Gemeente Maastricht and the IND will collaborate together in such a way that applicants can complete all formal procedures in one day and at one location – providing a one-stop-shop.
The formal procedures consist of collecting residence permits, registering with the municipality and receiving a personal consultation about living and working in South Limburg. Furthermore, with the Fast Track process, the Burgerservicenummer – BSN (resident service number), which is the first and most crucial element for a solid landing in the Netherlands, is issued within three days of application, instead of the legally stipulated four week waiting period.
The IND, which up until now only issued residence documents twice a month in Maastricht, will extend opening hours to three days a week in order to offer more extensive services. This in turn ensures that registration processes for international applicants who want to live and work in the South Limburg region are significantly more customer friendly.
Employees of companies that are IND recognised sponsors can make use of these services via applications made by their employer. Other foreign nationals who wish to work, live or study in the South Limburg region can also utilise the IND service point in Maastricht for the collection of residence documents, to supply biometric information or to receive their residence endorsement stickers or return visas.
The appeal of the Netherlands as a potential destination for international knowledge workers and highly educated professionals is high on the agenda of the current government. To strengthen the position of the Netherlands as a knowledge migration country, the IND is looking to further professionalise the services on offer for this target group by working together with municipalities. With the pilot in Maastricht, they are mapping out how this form of service can be replicated nationwide.
With this service, Maastricht International Centre, of which Expat Centre Maastricht Region is a part, contributes to the development of a powerful international knowledge region. The shortage in the South Limburg labour market is also being addressed by attracting and retaining international knowledge workers. In comparison with the rest of the Netherlands, there are large numbers of international knowledge workers in the South Limburg region: 36% of the international employees in South Limburg are knowledge workers. In the rest of the Netherlands, 27% are knowledge workers (Monitor international employees, 2019).