A regional International Welcome Center will open in Utrecht's Stadskantoor in the first quarter of 2019 to better serve the growing population of international residents in the Utrecht region. The International Welcome Center Utrecht Region will replace the current Expat Center and will be accessible to the public more frequently. The aldermen of economic affairs of Utrecht and Amersfoort, the deputy of the province of Utrecht and the chairman of the Executive Board of Utrecht University signed the decision Wednesday.
Expansion of the International Welcome Center's functional office hours is possible thanks to close cooperation with regional partners. The current Expat Center has been faced with rising waiting times due to an increasing influx of international employees. ACCESS, the International Talent Community and Utrecht Marketing will continue working closely to improve and coordinate the center's services. International residents will soon be able to handle the necessary formalities with IND and civil affairs in one visit and in one recognizable place. In addition, they will have access to more information about, for example, housing, education, and healthcare in the region.
The Utrecht alderman Klaas Verschuure (Economic Affairs) is pleased with the arrival of the Welcome Center. "This is the result of a great collaboration in the region," he says. "I think it's important that we act together in this because in the future we will also attract more and more international visitors, companies and residents."
7 percent annual growth
In recent years more and more international companies have settled in the Netherlands and more and more companies are recruiting international talent. Utrecht Region is no exception. Recent research commissioned by the Economic Board Utrecht shows that the number of international residents that will settle in our region by 2030 will increase annually by 7 percent. International employees working in Utrecht Region can be subdivided into two main groups: 70 percent labor migrants and 30 percent knowledge workers. The number of international students has risen to 3700 in recent years.
The city of Utrecht, alone, is currently home to 166 foreign nationalities. They are united by a common goal: to acclimate to this new country and culture and navigate the practical, social and mental obstacles with ease. Due to the Expat Center's name change, the extension of its opening hours and its central, recognizable location in the Stadskantoor, the International Welcome Center will become accessible to a broader group of internationals in the region.
*This article was translated from an original post (in Dutch): ‘Welcome Center voor internationale inwoners’ published on 5 December 2018 by The Municipality of Utrecht.