The number of knowledge workers from other countries who work in the Netherlands has grown some 41.5 percent in recent years. The Leiden region has also experienced such a growth. Every year 3,000 people come from abroad to settle in our region. This includes 1,000 to 1,500 students per year. The academic staff at the University of Leiden has also shown a growth in recent years to 31 percent of the total.
Improve International Competitiveness
The current Expat Centre Leiden offers limited services to people from abroad who settle in the region. Although the Leiden centre was the first in the Netherlands, the service lags behind that of other centres in the Netherlands. It primarily fulfils a tourist function. It is also not well known among potential users (expats, businesses and institutions with international staff and students). Ideally the Expat Centre should provide a “soft landing” for international workers and students to the region.
The project also aims to significantly improve the service, so that the Expat Centre contributes to improving the international competitiveness of the Leiden region. Businesses in the service sector will be improved. Lastly, the centre should also become a link between the expats and the region. The centre must encourage social cohesion in the community of international workers and students.
First of all research will be conducted, including discussions with expats themselves and the businesses and institutions with which they are connected and with other centres. The expat networks will also be documented. Ultimately, this will lead to a proposal for changes in the services provided by the existing Expat Centre Leiden.