ECL's Work for Talent

| Leiden International Centre

International Talent in the Leiden Region

Expat Centre Leiden’s core business is helping internationals living and working in the Leiden region and helping companies that employ these internationals. That’s how we contribute to the investment climate and help internationals settle in the region. We have also found that those who utilise the services of the Expat Centre generally have an easier time settling into their new lives here.  

Our services don’t end there. More and more we feel the strong need to help in the ‘war on talent’. The Expat Centre represents a category of people who might be a part of the solution: international employees and their partners. Throughout the Netherlands, there is a high demand for talent, particularly those with MBO, HBO and university degrees. In fact, for every 133 vacancies in the Netherlands, there are only 100 unemployed. If the Leiden region doesn’t do enough in mobilize international employees and their partners, we’ll fall behind on regions that do. 

Our newly optimised website includes a section for employers in the region to inform them of the possibilities of hiring internationals, ECL’s services and to alleviate insecurities about working with internationals.  

Expat Centre Leiden is increasingly involved in initiatives attracting and retaining international talent to our region. We don’t just do that by ourselves, we collaborate with regional and national partners.  

We made sure the Leiden region’s companies were well represented in the recently launched English job portal. This job portal is the product of our collaboration with Innovation Quarter, Zuid-Holland’s economic development agency, alongside the expat centres of Rotterdam and The Hague. With this consortium we were present at the virtual Massachusetts Institute of Technology job fair, where we talked to engineers of this prestigious university. Many of these diverse students had heard of Leiden. 

Expat Centre colleague Jenny Willcock answered questions in two webinars for Ukrainian refugees looking to enter the Dutch workforce. We have opened a page on our website to help Ukrainians and inform companies about possibilities of recruiting and employing them. 

Leiden Bio Science Park has a Human Capital Steering Committee, where I represent the international community and make sure this group is not overlooked and well taken care of. Every Thursday, ECL colleagues Jenny or Claire Lahaye are on-site at LBSP for companies with questions regarding hiring and registering international workers. This free and open consultation morning is open to all employers of our region, also outside of LBSP. 

One of our primary objectives at the Expat Centre has been making Leiden as visible as possible to prospective international talent who already reside in the Netherlands or are planning to move. We do this by participating in job fairs and conferences such as Hague Connect, Talent for Life, UpRotterdam, Dutch Medicine Days and ESOF. In addition we have ensured that the Leiden region is represented on public information platforms such as Welcome-to-NL, a site by RVO giving information to newcomers to the Netherlands.  

As a knowledge institute on internationalisation, we keep up to date on issues affecting internationals through round table meetings with other Expat/International Centres and government ministries. Where possible, we lobby our government both directly and indirectly. Our efforts included the co-signing of the Talent Coalition pamphlet and providing regional statistics and characteristics to involved parties. To do this, we have research done every two years as part of a national programme. 

Our work with the Municipality Leiden’s Internationalisation and Human capital departments allows us to keep abreast of Municipal and regional projects. We also have our eye on the future workforce of the region and have directed efforts to provide information to the Leiden region’s significant international student population by providing them with information upon their arrival and through pages on our website. We are also striving to appeal more to dual career families and ensure that trailing partners have the opportunity to find work that suits their skillsets. Often trailing partners have valuable professional experience that can be underutilised as they have difficulty finding work in a new and unfamiliar environment. We’re hosting career related workshops for this group of mostly women. The Leiden-Delft-Erasmus dual career officer is one of our partners in this. 

The Expat Centre Team is working hard to attract and retain talent. However, there’s more to be done in the future to keep this region competitive in the war on talent. 


Corine van der Ceelen 

Manager Expat Centre Leiden