Interview with Roelof Triemstra

23 May 2022

Roelof Triemstra is Directeur Dienstverlenen (Operational Director) of the Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst – IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service). During his most recent visit to Maastricht we asked Roelof about the importance of both knowledge workers and their employers in the Netherlands.  

What developments do you see in the migration of knowledge workers to the Netherlands? 

The IND sees a strong increase in the number of knowledge workers who want to come to the Netherlands. The number of companies that want to become recognised sponsors is also increasing significantly. This is mainly due to the shortage on the Dutch labour market. There is a high demand for well-qualified personnel in various fields of work and in various sectors.

To what extent can companies and governments play a role in this? 

Together with our partners, the IND contributes to the 'one-stop shop' concept. This means that 3 different services are offered at 1 time and at 1 location. These are:
1. registration in the Basisregistratie Personen – BRP (Personal Records Database),
2. the provision of a bugerservicenummer – BSN (citizen service number),
3. and the issue of the relevant verblijfsvergunning (residence permit) document by the IND.

Expat Centre Maastricht Region provides information about living and working in the region.

How does the IND respond to this?

The IND makes it easy for international knowledge workers and their family members to settle in the Netherlands and to quickly start working for their employer. This warm welcome is appreciated by both the employer and the employee. This makes the Netherlands more attractive to highly educated talent. In this way, we contribute to an economically prosperous Netherlands.

Professor Cörvers of Maastricht University recently argued that 'expats are of vital importance to the region'. Do you recognise this and if so, is this true for some regions in the Netherlands more than others?

There is a great demand for highly educated and well qualified personnel. At the same time, there is a shortage on the Dutch labour market. And so knowledge and skills from outside the Netherlands are welcome and needed. This applies to all regions in the Netherlands. Of course, each region has its own specific brands, industries and sectors.

The pilot that the IND carried out in 2020-2021 with Expat Centre Maastricht Region received the very high score of 9 out of 10 from clients. What is the secret to that success in your eyes?

Professionalism, reliability and a people-oriented approach seem to be the keys to success. IND employees are committed, helpful and customer-focussed. They want to be good service providers. In this respect, the solid collaboration with the municipality and the expat centres at 1 central location is crucial. As a result, the lines of communication are short and there is an awareness of one another's role in the whole collaboration. A pleasant and efficient working method has been created to which everyone contributes.

The pilot in Zuid-Limburg has now been continued and the IND is investigating whether it can be offered in other regions in the Netherlands. What can you tell us about this?

Apart from Maastricht, the IND has a presence at 9 of the 11 expat centres in the country. The services in Maastricht distinguish themselves from the other centres. In Maastricht, we not only help knowledge workers and their family members, but also other IND clients. For example, we also issue residence permits to international students, labour migrants or foreign partners of Dutch nationals or foreigners who are not highly skilled migrants. That makes us as IND more flexible in our service provision, for example in times of crisis. The IND hopes that we will also be able to provide this broad service close to the client at the other expat centres.

The number of erkende referenten (recognised sponsors) in Zuid-Limburg has increased significantly in recent years. How can employers in the Netherlands obtain this status?

Every employer who is considering employing people from outside the Netherlands (expats) can submit an application to the IND to be recognised as a sponsor. The reliability and financial health of a company are important for this recognition status. The advantage of the status of a recognised sponsor is that the employer can make use of the simplified immigration procedure for the entry of prospective employees into the Netherlands. On our website  you will find a lot of information about this procedure and about the rights and obligations of a recognised sponsor. 


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Roelof Triemstra
IND bezoek (2).JPG
with alderman Niels Peeters