IWCN: 2022 in numbers
2022 was a year of change for us here at the International Welcome Center North. We had a merger and became a foundation, setting us up for an even stronger future where we can provide our formalities services and our social and informational activities together.
But even in the midst of the hard work of effectively becoming a brand new organization, we celebrated our eighth year in operation, and can look back with satisfaction on a very productive twelve months.
We provided formalities services to more clients than ever before: our team helped 2,822 internationals in 5,009 appointments (most clients have up to three appointments) with their residence permits or municipal registrations, making it possible for them and their families to live and work in the north. We were also able to help 10 international start up formalities clients at our center over the past year.
Following a successful pilot, IWCN now officially provides formalities services at our center for internationals, including 389 students in 2022. Interest in orientation year permits has also more than doubled, with 503 permits issued this year (compared to 208 in 2021).
We were also pleased to welcome 67 new client companies, which are businesses in the north that employ internationals to whom we provide expedited formalities, useful advice and recommendations. We see that our dedication to these companies – large or small – is much appreciated, and that is reflected in the fact that we now have 374 client companies altogether.
As of the end of 2022, we had 36 service partners in total including three new partners: Expat Housing Network, Karmelita Coaching, and 123Wonen. We recommend these trusted companies to the internationals who come through our doors who are looking for more information about topics like housing, insurance, child care, relocation, and translation, among many others.
Thanks to Connect International and City Central merging to formally become a part of IWCN, we also look back on 2022 as an eventful year, literally and figuratively. Our event coordinators organized no fewer than 557 events across Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland. That includes 70 intakes for My Local Friend, our language support programme where we pair up Dutch speakers with internationals to help them improve their Dutch skills and feel more connected to the city of Groningen.
Altogether, we had 6,210 interactions either in our center or online: inquiries through in-person office visits, phone calls, emails and chat messages, wanting to know about everything and anything related to life in the northern Netherlands from internationals. That goes for client companies too, who frequently contact us with questions about how to hire internationals and the procedures related to that. And that figure is likely an underestimation: at times, our team is so busy that we cannot even record every single interaction.
All of these numbers tell part an important part of the story of what we do, but more importantly, each number represents a person who is now a part of our international community here in the north.
So often, the people that we help express their gratitude and appreciation for what we do: not just the necessary steps to make it possible for them to live and work here, or hire talented staff, but also the care we take to ensure that they feel truly at home and connected in this special region of the Netherlands.
Each of these impressive numbers was made possible through the dedication and attentiveness of our information, formalities, events and communications teams.