skyline The Hague

The Hague International Centre 2020 – year in review


The Hague International Centre worked with 373 employers in the region to welcome 3,328 internationals in 2020. The newcomers came from 115 different countries, 41% of whom were from the EU/EEA (including UK) countries, and 59% were from non-EU/EEA countries. Following is a sum-up of our activities and observations in 2020.


Municipal services

In addition to municipal registrations, The Hague International Centre has answered 4,800 emails and 1,140 telephone calls, while ACCESS helped to answer 2,767 questions at the counter. In 2020, over 1,500 additional municipal affairs products were delivered, including the processing of 787 certificates and 342 removals, 328 emigrations, 29 extracts and 18 CBR medical certificates.



The Hague International Centre’s communications channels experienced considerable growth despite the pandemic.

  • There were 100,000 visits to the website in 2020, an average of 9,000 per month, which translates to a 54% growth in 2020.
  • The monthly newsletter has 2,869 subscribers: an 8% growth in 2020.
  • The corporate newsletter is sent to more than 1,000 contacts, namely employers, service providers and stakeholders.
  • Social media followers have increased.
    • LinkedIn: 1,059 followers | 165% growth in 2020 | Reached: 48,000 screens
    • Facebook: 1,544 followers | 52% growth in 2020 | Reached: 161,000 screens
    • Twitter: 384 followers | 47% growth in 2020 | Reached: 170,000 screens
  • More than 100 partners are now affiliated with The Hague International Centre, including paying commercial partners, and expat organisations such as business networks.
  • In spring and summer, 5 events were cancelled due to the coronavirus measures, but we made up for it by converting to online events. In 2020, we organised a total of 8 events, including Welcome to The Hague and CONNECT, which covered the topics language, taxes, education, housing, work/career, and healthcare. The events attracted 788 registrations and we had a total of 417 participants. The events received an average score of 8.4 out of 10 points.


Trends in international mobility

  1. Uncertainty and limitations on international travel is causing a major decrease in the number of (business) travel and new international assignments.
  • There is a greater impact on short-term assignments and business travel than on local recruitment and long-term assignments. Due to the travel restrictions, only essential and critical assignments were allowed.
  • Travel restrictions increased the percentage of EU/EEA citizen arrivals. Reduced public services and limited air traffic made it difficult for non-EU citizens to travel to The Hague.
  • Many employees have already started working remotely abroad due to travel restrictions and coronavirus measures. Some continue to work remotely for Dutch employers until after the coronavirus crisis. Some employers are looking into the possibility of continuing with international remote working after the pandemic despite the impact on the right of residence, taxes, and social security.
  1. The expected departure of foreign knowledge workers from The Hague has remained low for the time being. Long-term assignments have been extended and the employees have remained in place. Information from international organisations, and figures from the IND and BRP confirm this trend. The intake rates of expat centres (30% less in 2020) have fallen further than applications to the IND (15% less in 2020) due to an increase in extensions. The largest decrease in arrivals can be seen at international companies, especially IT service providers.
  2. Employers are looking at the temporary employment policies of international employees. Assignments amount to a lot of extra work and costs for employers spent on orientation, extra fees, and insurance. Covid reinforces the trend towards more locally recruited and younger foreign personnel. Through cost savings and change in travel policies, there will be more local employees compared to international assignments. Foreign workers on a local contract receive other benefits and guidance.
  3. Employers are paying more attention to the well-being of foreign employees due to the challenges resulting from travel restrictions; local coronavirus measures; and distancing from colleagues, and home country through working from home. Newcomers need extra support because the coronavirus measures make it difficult to build a social network. A nationwide survey by International Community Advisory Panel confirms the need to pay more attention to the mental health and financial vulnerability of internationals.
  4. International mobility is expected to be limited in 2021. Mobility will pick up again with the easing of travel restrictions, but it will be below 2019 figures.
  • The effect on The Hague seems less significant than on regions that are more dependent on tourism, industry, and trade. The coronavirus crisis does not affect the sectors of The Hague proportionally. Job cuts are mainly expected in sectors that are directly affected, such as hospitality, industry, energy, trade, tourism, aviation, logistics, floriculture, temporary employment, sports and recreation.
  • Despite the uncertainty of the economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis, it is likely that in the near future the shortage in the labour market for technical professions will continue. The acceleration of digitisation may increase the deficit. Companies are committed to retaining technical staff, as it was often difficult to attract staff. The Central Government will put extra effort into the international recruitment of technical staff.
  • In The Hague, arrivals have remained higher than in some other regions in the Netherlands. This is because employees of embassies, international organisations, and NGOs can continue to travel. International organisations appear to be less susceptible to economic changes and will maintain the same need for new talent.
  • The energy sector has long been affected by low oil prices, which has delayed many investments. Oil companies have significantly reduced the relocation of foreign workers, and many have announced reorganisations that will limit international mobility.
  • The effects of the coronavirus crisis affect companies in many different areas: restrictions due to government measures, less transactions with foreign countries, less possibility of acquisition, limited delivery of parts and products, rising transport costs, and cancelled business trips and trade fairs. Sectors such as IT/Tech, Telecom, cybersecurity, business services, education, government, and healthcare will feel the impact in the long term.


A more detailed report (in Dutch) is available for download.