The story of Anja

‘Co-workers who can do their work quickly and carefully: that gives me a good feeling’

In 2022 the IND received more than 20,000 postal items a week at the Digital Registration and Preparation Department (in Dutch: Digitaal Registreren en Voorbereiden, or DRV) in Ter Apel. About 200 staff members at the IND locations in Ter Apel, Zwolle and Den Bosch handle that post. One of them is Anja. ‘I handle letters, residence applications and passport copies quickly and accurately, so that IND colleagues can get to work on them on time and carefully.’
portretfoto Anja
Photo of Anja
I take great pleasure in going to my job. I can get along well with my co-workers and we help one another if necessary. And what if there is a lot of post to process? Then everyone takes an extra step.

Anja has already worked for 12 years as a Processing and Handling staff member in Ter Apel. And she does this for good reason. ‘I take great pleasure in going to my job. I can get along well with my co-workers and we help one another if necessary. And what if there is a lot of post to process? Then everyone takes an extra step. I find that so nice. My work is very varied because of the different types of post. Take for example an application by a permit holder who wants to bring his/her family to the Netherlands. I enter the details of the children, such as names, ages, nationality and relationships among the children themselves and with their parents, in INDiGO – the IND information system. If a large family is concerned, it takes me a few hours to do this. Then it is fine if I can do an easy postal item afterwards. For example a letter with corrections and additions from a lawyer at an interview with an asylum seeker.’

The path of the IND post

‘Everything starts with the staff members of the scanning section. They open the postal items, remove staples and scan them. Afterwards I or a co-worker enters what kind of post it is  in INDiGO. Is it for example an application from someone who wants to bring his or her partner to the Netherlands? Or a letter in which a court gives judgment in an asylum case? Via list of backlogs we see which type of post we have to deal with first. This has to do with the agreements we have made with the various departments. For instance we need to process corrections and additions by a lawyer at an asylum interview within one day, because the IND staff member handling this information will discuss this information the next day in the more detailed interview with the asylum seeker and interpreter. We also see if an applicant or case has been entered in our system. If so, then we link the postal item to this. Finally the right department or section receives a sign via our information system if there are new postal items. The department or section divides this post among the IND co-workers, so that a person handling them will have all information that is needed, for example to decide whether someone will be allowed to study or work here.’

Pressure of work

‘Sometimes there is a lot of post in a number of weeks and we do not succeed in processing all items. This causes the work to pile up and some co-workers are stressed by this. We then see with one another how we can restore peace and quiet. By talking about this in the morning meeting and informing managers. I myself have never been bothered by pressure of work. If I have a busy day, then I make cards and gift wrappings after the evening meal. I like to do this and it empties my mind.’

Getting accustomed to a new role

Anja got the opportunity to continue developing as deputy senior staff member of the Ukraine Team. ‘I set up this team together with other co-workers, so that Ukrainians who flee from the war in their home country can get a residence sticker in the Netherlands. We register these people and their passports and residence stickers. This work gives me a lot of energy. I like to arrange things quickly and to sort out who I need to go to for what information. But it did indeed take some time to get used to this because my work as deputy senior staff member was less specific. I held job interviews, engaged temporary workers and trained them. I also drew up work instructions and let the project manager know how the project was going. So a had more of a leadership role and that is very different from, for example having to process 50 postal items every day.’

New challenge

Anja has recently been working as senior staff member of digital registration and preparation (DRV) Team 10. ‘This new team is occupied with old asylum and naturalisation documents stored at the Central Records Selection Agency (in Dutch: Centrale Archief Selectiedienst, or CAS) in Winschoten. Team members digitise these documents so that the paper documents can be destroyed. The challenge for me is mainly the management of the team members. These are mostly people at a distance from the labour market. They often need different coaching. I learnt a lot during the last year and a half as deputy senior staff member of the Ukraine Team. Such as working together with co-workers from other locations, from Residence Permits & Identity (in Dutch: Titel & Identiteit) and from Chain Information & Verification (in Dutch: Keteninformatie & Controle, keteninformatie is information concerning the authorities involved in asylum and migration matters) and the project manager of the Ukraine Team. And taking decisions together with them on matters including work instructions and types of post. I can make good use of those experiences in my new position.’

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