It’s a happy Kris de Pins who is sitting opposite me at the table. Last Monday he tweeted about the increase of applications at the Holland Expat Center South. Although this increase wasn’t a surprise for the director, it was still positively received. But is it just good news or does this increase also cause concerns?
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“WOW: in april 2017 we had 50% more registrations of internationals at @holexpatcenter than in april 2016!”Kris de Prins, Director Holland Expat Center South via Twitter
Kris de Prins is pleased that this trend of applications continues. “The Expat Center knows an average annual growth of 25%, but this was twice as much in April. If we count in people, we’re talking about a growth of about 130 to 200 internationals.” But according to De Prins there is still much to be gained.
The target of the number of applications was set to 2,200 this year. The director expects the actual number to go towards 2,500 this time. De Prins thinks that the increase is caused by two factors. “The first one is that the economy is attracting again, companies are receiving more orders and therefore, more employees are needed. The second reason is because the Expat Center keeps expanding its network. Because of that, three to five new companies sign up every month.”
According to de Prins, this growth especially shows positive aspects. It means that the employers are getting better at finding the foreign employees. Eindhoven also benefits from that. According to de Prins, it is good to bring new influences into your city and region, “because multicultural teams come up with more creative solutions.”
“On the one hand, you get to know other cultures, but by being in contact with other cultures, you also get to know yourself better.”
– Kris de Prins
De Prins isn’t too afraid of the growth also bringing along negative developments. “The first problem we’ll face is the capacity of hours we have available.” The Expat Center might be a small team, but a lot can be done by volunteers, according to de Prins. “In the case of further growth, measures will have to be taken, such as hiring more people and double counters. But that is far in the future.”
“In that sense, it’s fragile in terms of staffing because it is a small team with a wide range, but I don’t see us encountering the limits of possibilities yet.”
– Kris de Prins
De Prins says that the Expat Center does have another bottleneck. That is the range among the MKB’ers. “This is the hardest group to reach, but at the same time the largest group of employers of the internationals. 80-90% of the employers is in this group.” That’s why the goal of de Prins is to better penetrate with small and medium-sized companies. So he is also inviting these companies to join the Expat Center. “Because especially for them, internationals can be of great help.”
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