The Expat Center Food Valley provided 350 residence permits to international employees in their first full calendar year. The bulk of these ‘customers’ works at Wageningen UR.
The Expat Center, located in the building Nexus on campus, will be renovated as of the 22 January to give it a more professional appearance. This service was founded so that expats that arrive, can organize all their administration at one desk. They receive a residence permit from the immigration and Naturalisation Services (IND), register at the municipality and receive a social security number (BSN). The Expat Center not only focuses on Wageningen UR, but also on the businesses in the surroundings and was setup by the Province of Gelderland, Wageningen UR , the municipality of Wageningen and FoodValleyNL.
Manager Derk Rademaker is satisfied with the results. The IND requires that the center, together with a center in Twente, issue more than 500 residences. Only ‘lead applicants’ are counted, accompanied family members are not. With 250 expats in Wageningen and more than 300 in Twente this was amply met. Moreover, Rademaker still sees room for growth.
At the start in October 2014 seven municipalities joined in. But Arnhem will probably also join, says Rademaker. Initially also Nijmegen was interested but eventually they did not join. Meanwhile, some 25 institutions used the services of the center. In the connected municipalities – plus Arnhem – Rademaker sees 100-110 potential clients. However, Wageningen UR will remain the biggest customer.
Furthermore, the center wants to expand its services. For example this month a pilot was started in which outgoing WUR-employees are helped. ‘This is often more complex than helping arriving expats’, says Rademaker, ‘and it even runs interchangeably.’ As example he cites a Ugandan researcher that came to Wageningen and subsequently was sent to three countries for a project. Organizing the contracts, taxes and insurances is then really difficult. Also Rademaker want to do more on social integration of expats and their families.