Celebrating colleagues at The Hague International Centre: Wilfred

Foto Wilfred

Celebrating colleagues at The Hague International Centre: Wilfred

This week, we celebrate 10 years of connecting internationals to The Hague region. This would not have been possible without the support of so many! Especially our colleagues, who help internationals at the Centre daily. Thank you for your contribution!

We met with Wilfred, Operations Manager at The Hague International Centre for almost 10 years. He relies on his network, and wealth of experience in immigration to help internationals at the Centre, and takes great joy in greeting visitors in their native language. Read on for a glimpse into the work apart from computers and paperwork.


How did you come to work for The Hague International Centre?

In 2006 I started working for the Immigration Office. We helped expats and internationals with arranging registrations and residence permits. At the time, this was really small and we were literally working out of our manager’s office. This eventually moved to a separate location, which became The Hague International Centre.


What is it like to work with ACCESS and Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) under one roof?

We are all located at the Centre. If there is a problem, we can find a solution almost immediately because it is very easy to reach out to ACCESS or IND and ask for the information you need. I think that is a true added value of The Hague International Centre for the internationals: it’s a one-stop-shop, and by the time they leave the Centre, we aim for everything to be settled and arranged. 


What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love meeting people from all over the world, from different cultures and backgrounds. I am interested in languages, so one thing I always do is greet newly arrived internationals in their native language. This makes them feel at ease and feel welcomed. To me, it is a fun thing to do and a great way to keep up my language skills.


Which part of the job is the most rewarding to you?

I once helped a mother and her son who came all the way from Dubai for the municipal registration, because the son was going to study in The Hague. They had taken care of all the documents they needed but once they arrived at the municipality desk, something appeared to be missing. Sadly, they would not be able to sort it out in time, because they were only in the Netherlands for a couple of days. They approached us at the Centre and asked for help.

I was able to help them, and in the end, everything worked out. They were so happy and grateful. A moment like that is very valuable to me.


Things are different since the coronavirus pandemic. How has this affected operations at the Centre?

Apart from the coronavirus regulations of keeping 1.5-metre distance and the wearing of face masks at the Centre, the main difference is that people cannot just walk-in anymore. It is all by appointment only. Luckily, we are still able to help them the best we can via phone and email. In fact, we have been getting a record number of questions via email!


Thank you Wilfred for sharing your story!

Find out more about what we are doing for our 10-year anniversary.