Why cross-cultural education matters

We came across this interesting blog and thought to share it with you!

“I was having lunch with a friend who wanted to understand what my recently founded company is about. After walking her through the cross-cultural development programs we offer, she asked me “But is this really necessary? I mean isn’t dealing with people from different culture all about basic human respect? We are all human at the end of the day and deep inside we are all the same.” There was a big portion of truth in what she said; deep inside we are all the same. We all hate injustice; we all want to be rewarded for our achievements, we all share similar fears.

As I wanted to bring wider perspective into the conversation I shared with her a story of a leader who I met the other day.

An HR leader from France who was managing a global HR team and was well known for his human approach to management and respect to other cultures travelled to Japan to meet his Tokyo based team. During a one-on-one meeting with one of the top performers of his global team, the leader directly expressed that he was not happy about the way this team member led a specific project. Right after the meeting, the Japanese team member handed his French boss a resignation letter. The leader was in shock: he did not want to lose the top performer. The top performer however could not stay any longer as he had disappointed his boss and had lost his trust.

Both sides lost.

Neither the leader’s ‘we-are-all-humans’ approach nor the common goal to manage the project effectively, were enough to avoid the loss. Had the leader known that the French way of delivering negative feedback sends out a strong message in Japanese culture, in which indirect communication is preferred, he would most probably have adapted his way of conveying the message.

Learning to understand cultural differences and adjusting our behavior accordingly is not a simple task. But it can be developed through specific education programs. The benefits are priceless.”

Contact Pauline van de Ven p.vandeven@i-mobility.nl for more information on Cross Culture Training.


Expatcenter services expanded

As from July 1st, 2015, highly skilled migrants and scientific researchers who submitted an application for an extension of their residence permit will also be able to retrieve their residence document at an expat center. Presently, residence documents are only issued at the centers at the time of first issuance. The application forms for highly skilled migrants and scientific researchers will be updated accordingly and made available on our website.

As from July 1st, 2015, students who graduated in the Netherlands and who are in their orientation year, as well as highly educated persons who also graduated abroad, will be able to retrieve their residence document at an expat center following approval of their application for a permit for the purpose of ‘looking for and performing labor whether or not as an employee’ as well. This application form, too, will be updated.

In addition, highly skilled migrants, scientific researchers, students in their orientation year and highly educated persons can submit their biometric data at an expat center. IND is currently active in eight expat centers, located in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Eindhoven, Groningen, Wageningen and Enschede. More information on these expat centers is available on our website.

Income requirements adjusted as from 1 July 2015

Income requirements adjusted as from 1 July 2015. These income requirements (the so-called standard amounts) are reviewed every year on 1 January and on 1 July.
Income requirement
In order to become eligible for a residence permit, you usually have to meet an income requirement. You need to indicate that you have a sufficient and sustainable income. This means that you have to show that you have sufficient income for a specified period of time.
The quantity of income that you have to show is determined by your personal situation and by the type of residence permit for which you are applying. The income that you have to demonstrate is a gross amount. This is the amount stated in the employment contract or in the salary specification (pay slip). You can find this amount on your pay slip in the ‘social security salary’ (in Dutch ‘SV-loon’) box. Social security salary is sometimes also called  (in Dutch) ‘loon SV’  or ‘(gross) salary Social Security Act’ (in Dutch ‘(bruto)loon SVW’).

Extension of ‘orientation year for highly educated persons’ proposed

The government is planning to extend the so-called ‘orientation year for highly educated persons’ – an existing scheme allowing foreign students to remain in the Netherlands for a year upon their graduation so as to obtain employment as a highly-skilled migrant. In so doing, the government acts on the advice of the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands to make the Netherlands a more attractive country to highly-skilled migrants..
The presently proposed new ‘orientation year for highly educated persons’ eliminates the two main problems with the existing scheme: the work permit requirement is removed for all applicants under the new scheme. In addition, the two existing schemes (orientation years) will be merged, enhancing clarity. The goal is to enable more categories of foreign nationals who completed their studies or research at a Dutch of foreign top 200 university to apply for a residence permit for the purposes of becoming employed in the Netherlands and to do so under more flexible conditions.
Internet consultations
The government is interested in the views held by the interested parties on the proposed new scheme and has therefore launched internet consultations.
Internet consultations allow citizens, businesses and social organisations to become familiar with newly proposed legislation and make their views on such proposals heard. The consultations are intended to improve the quality of legislation and the transparency of the legislative process. By gathering opinions and comments, the government aims to make better use of the knowledge available within the society at large. Early consultation of involved parties results in legislation that is both more widely supported also more easily implemented and enforced.
Should you wish to present your views on the proposed new orientation year,
please visit the following web page:
Opinions can be submitted up to and including 14 September 2015.

Reverse Culture Shock

An interesting article on Reverse Culture Shock by Elizabeth Vennekens-Kelly of Cross Cultural Consulting

Repatriating can be as difficult as moving to a foreign country in the first place. Adults feel the very real pangs of saying good-bye to their exotic adventure. Children face the loss of, well, everything they know. For everyone, there is the job of beginning again. But life has many chapters, and these tips can help you make “back home” feel like home again.

Have family discussions about relocating and let each person have a voice. Open, honest communication makes everyone feel heard, and that they are an important player in the transition.

Realize that not every member of the family will be thrilled about the move. If the current location is home to the children, they may fear the unknown. Spouses may dread the red tape and their own job search. Acknowledging these legitimate concerns is important.

Accommodate personal temperaments. Some people are adventurous; others hate change. Some think ahead more than others. Each family member will experience the adjustment phase differently, and the duration and intensity will vary.

Monitor your kids. Children are resilient, but moving can be a huge adjustment for them. Give your children time, urge them to make new friends by using their cultural diversity as an entrée, by expanding their notion of who friends should be and by looking for peers with more diverse interests and backgrounds. Encourage them to be confident and to see the possibilities. If they don’t settle in well, though, consider third-party help from a counselor or psychologist.

Recognize that you may feel like an outsider for a time. You won’t be aware of recent local events or inside jokes that your family and friends share. (And they may be uninterested in or apathetic about your new interests and hobbies.) So expand your circle of friends.

Look for an international community or expat group where you can meet people who have lived in other countries.

Bring the culture back with you. Create new family traditions by incorporating some of the customs and foods from your expat days, and share them with family and friends. Your life has been enriched and you don’t want to lose that.

Leverage your international experience at work, in school, or other activities. Your kids may become wonderful resources in geography or humanities class! Beware of sensitive perceptions, though. From my home in Belgium I could go to Paris for the day or London for the weekend—and some regard this as boasting.

Stay in touch with the friends you made abroad. As the one who left, it will fall to you to make the greater effort to stay connected. Skype and FaceTime provide a visual and more emotional link, but email, Facebook and other social media are just as important. It’s inevitable that some folks will drift away, but the ones who stay connected will be treasured ties to that time in your life.

Invite folks from your former country to visit. You might worry that you’ll be overrun with guests, but trust me: people have good intentions about visiting, yet in reality things come up and trips get postponed. The numbers will be manageable.

Budget for return visits. Seeing people in person, even if only once in a while, is the best way to cement long-distance friendships. They’ll appreciate your return, and you’ll enjoy reminiscing when you visit favorite spots. When I’m in the Frankfurt area, it’s a treat to return to my favorite Greek restaurant in Offenbach—not only for the food, but also for the memories.

Successful repatriation comes by acknowledging that you’re not returning to the same circumstances that existed when you left. We all change with time and experience. However, expats tend to change more dramatically than the people who remained back home. Patience, optimism, and good communication serve to smooth out the bumps of your journey.

Monitoring of Recognised Sponsors

It has been more than a year since the new Immigration Law MoMi took effect, it might be wise to take a second look at the repercussions should an employer not fulfil the obligations as recognised sponsor. The following text originates from the IND site, the link at the bottom will take you to the ‘IND administrative fines’ information.

The IND may, at any time, verify if your organisation is complying with the rules, for example by requesting data from your organisation. If you do not comply with the rules, the IND may take various measures.

Suspension and revocation of the recognition

The IND may suspend your organisation as a recognised sponsor.

Recognition can be suspended during the period needed by the IND to investigate a recognised sponsor. This is also possible if third parties (such as the Public Prosecution Service or the Labour Inspectorate) need time to conduct an investigation.

The IND can suspend recognition in the following cases:

  •  The IND has good cause to suspect that the recognised sponsor no longer meets the conditions for recognition.
  • The IND reports the recognised sponsor to the Public Prosecution Service.
  •  The IND has filed a complaint against a recognised sponsor with the National Commission Code of Conduct for International Students in Higher Education.
  •  The Education Inspectorate has initiated an investigation into a recognised sponsor.
  • The SZW Inspectorate has initiated an investigation into a recognised sponsor.

The suspension of recognition is a temporary measure for a period of 3 months. Recognition can also be suspended for 1 or more purposes of residence. The suspension can be extended by 3-month periods for as long as the investigation continues.

During the suspension the recognised sponsor may not use his recognition and is therefore unable to initiate any applications for which recognition is a requirement. The sponsor will also be immediately removed from the list of recognised sponsors.

During the suspension, the IND will assess if the organisation still meets the conditions for recognition. If the organisation does not meet or no longer meets the conditions for recognition, the IND will revoke the recognition. This can also be done if the recognised sponsor has failed to meet his legal obligations.

The IND can revoke recognition in the following cases:

  •  Recognition was granted on incorrect or incomplete grounds.
  • The recognised sponsor no longer meets the conditions for recognition.
  • The recognised sponsor has failed to meet his legal obligations (on several occasions).
  • The recognised sponsor itself requests revocation.

The IND can bar an organisation from being a recognised sponsor for a maximum of 5 years. Recognition can also be revoked for 1 or more purposes of stay. The organisation will be removed from the list of recognised sponsors. During this period the organisation will not be able to use the fast-track procedure or act as a recognised sponsor, and a new application for recognition will be refused.

Withdrawal of residence permits

In the event of the recognition being suspended or revoked the IND can also withdraw the residence permit of the highly skilled migrants working for your organisation. In these cases the residence status of the foreign national in question is reviewed individually.

If the foreign national was aware of the reason for the revocation or can be held jointly liable, the IND may withdraw the residence permit with immediate effect. The residence permit will not be withdrawn with immediate effect if the foreign national was not aware of the reason and cannot be held jointly liable. The foreign national will be given 3 months to find another recognised sponsor. If another recognised sponsor has not been found within 3 months the permit may still be withdrawn.
If the IND decides to withdraw a residence permit, the foreign national will first receive an intended decision.

Warning and administrative penalty

The first time your organisation fails to comply with the rules, it will usually receive a warning. In case of a second violation of the rules, the IND may impose a penalty. The penalty amount depends on the seriousness of the violation and the number
of violations, among other things. In case of serious violations, the IND may also impose an immediate penalty, without a prior warning.

Reporting a criminal offence

The IND is obliged to file a report in case of a reasonable suspicion of a criminal offence. For example if your organisation has deliberately provided incorrect data. 
The Public Prosecution Service will then decide whether your organisation will be prosecuted. In that case, the organisation may be fined or the managing director may be sentenced to imprisonment.

Recovering the costs of removal

If the highly skilled migrant can no longer lawfully reside in the Netherlands, the Dutch government will check if he leaves the Netherlands. If he does not leave the Netherlands of his own accord, the government may remove him. The IND may recover the related costs from your organisation. Related costs include the costs of transport to the airport or the border, the costs of the airline ticket and the costs of travel documents, such as a replacement passport. The costs may be recovered up to 1 year after your organisation no longer acts as a sponsor.

Welcome to Saskia van Donkelaar

After working at the InHolland Academy for 3 years it was time for Saskia to get back to her roots and into the Relocation Industry again. We are very proud that she joined i-Mobility.  As a child of expat parents, Saskia has lived in Spain, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Nigeria, Tunisia and Scotland before entering boarding school in Leeuwarden.

She studied Leisure Management in Leeuwarden and was an intern at the University of Columbia Missouri USA.  She has worked in the Relocation industry for 11 years and brings not only a solid basis of experience to our team, but also a keen sense of professionalism and quality. Her project will be to prepare our company for the auditors to award us the EuRA Quality Seal in 2014 – 2015!

First King’s Day in the Netherlands

The Dutch have been celebrating Queen’s Day on 30 April since 1949. Starting in this year, we will be celebrating King’s Day on April 26.

‘Koningdag’ as it is called in Dutch, is celebrated yearly. It is the King’s official birthday and is celebrated each year with parties, street markets, concerts and special events for the royal family . So, every year on the official birthday of King Alexander on April 27 (or 26 if 27 is a Sunday), the whole of the Netherlands goes wild!!!  The Flags are put up, all companies and stores, the government offices are closed and people are literally in the streets celebrating. On this day the Dutch are more than proud to wear their Orange outfits, completed with funny Orange accessories.

King’s Day is an official public holiday in the Netherlands. Opening hours in stores vary. Some stores are open as usual, some are open for part of the day, and some are closed all day. Public transport runs to a normal or special timetable and there are extra train services to take people home from large celebrations. However, buses and trams in the centre of large cities may have different or shortened routes to avoid the crowds. Restaurants may be shut, open as usual or only serving special “King’s Day” meals. Cafes and restaurants may close earlier than usual.

King Alexander and Queen Maxima and part of the Royal Family will visit the Province of North Holland and visit the municipalities De Rijp and Amstelveen this year. Celebrations usually start the evening before, especially in Den Haag. Actually, the celebration of ‘Koningnach’, the night before King’s Day, can be bigger than the actual festivities during the King’s day. You can also expect an early start of the celebrations in Amsterdam, but most people save their energy for the next day, the celebration of the year!!! Every city and town has its own celebrations.  Markets and Fun Fairs are set up throughout the whole country.

But of course the celebration is really big in the capital Amsterdam, the whole centre of Amsterdam will be closed off for the festivities. Radio stations are setting up grand Podia, staging performances of national and international artists on the ‘Museumplein’, ‘Leidseplein’ and ‘Rembrandtplein’. Every café and bar has an additional stand outside, where they serve all kinds of food and beverages. Everywhere is dancing and you will hear different music in every street. The Amsterdam canals are filled with private boats of all sizes, shapes and colourfully decorated.

Only on King’s day, people are allowed to sell all kinds of things in the street. Most cities have their own specific locations, where it is possible between 06.00 and 20.00 hours to sell anything you feel like selling. Old toys and homemade hamburgers or beverages, this is the only day a year when everybody is allowed to sell anything they want and where they want. Of course this is also the case in Amsterdam, there are also special areas reserved for children to sell their old goods, especially the ‘Vondelpark’ has a good variety of children’s activities.

We hope you will enjoy it!

Dutch Culture

This picture was taken during the Nuclear Security Summit of March 2014. It showed up in a blog on Facebook and the international comments were a multitude of not understanding; why is the Prime Minister in a suit on the bicycle for instance….

For the Dutch, this picture says it all. It is an understatement, it is practicality, it is common sense and above all: let’s not make things bigger than they need to be.

According to the cultural model of Hofstede, The Netherlands score low on the dimension ‘power distance’. We are an egalitarian society averse to hierarchy. We also score low on ‘masculinity’: true feminine values and modest behaviour, service and solidarity are highly valued by us. Consider the term ‘servant leadership’. You’re the boss, but you have to service your staff. Anything is better than to be perceived arrogant.

IND EU registration in 2014

As of 6 January 2014, EU/ EER and Swiss nationals residing (and working) in the Netherlands will no longer need to get a registration sticker in their passport from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND). The duty to report for EU nationals will be lifted. The purpose of the duty to report was to check the right of residence, but it only represents a random indication. This may lead to a seeming certainty: if an EU national no longer meets the conditions for residence at a later moment, he still has a valid registration sticker in his passport. Vice versa legal residence could be the case by virtue of EU law without the duty to report having been met.

If you are an EU national and a company or organisation requires proof of legal or long-term residence from you as a condition to hire you or to provide a service or product to you, your (valid) passport or ID card is sufficient proof that your residence in the Netherlands is lawful. If so required you can prove that you are intending to stay in the Netherlands longer than four months with a registration in the municipal records. This registration obligation continues to apply.

Source: www.ind.nl