The story of Arnold

‘A warm welcome’

Are you making a request for naturalisation? Then you will receive a decision well on time. The IND has halved the processing time and is working hard to implement further improvements. What is it like to work for the Naturalisation client group?
Arnold aan het lopen
Photo of Arnold
And we make everyone who is entitled to Dutch citizenship feel welcome

We asked manager Arnold Stolte. ‘It’s gratifying work,’ says Arnold. ‘People who have been living in the Netherlands with a residence permit for a while often feel at home here. They want to have a better sense of belonging by being able to call themselves Dutch. Dutch citizenship means a lot to them. Often, emotions are involved as well. If someone meets the requirements, it feels nice to be able to grant them Dutch citizenship. I want to treat them in a way that lets them know they are welcome.’ 

Fast decisions

‘This means that we are friendly when clients call us to ask a question,’ Arnold continues. ‘We help the client to come up with solutions and allow them to take their time.’ After all, it’s very difficult for clients to obtain the right documents in some countries of origin. Even if they try their best.  But at least as important as getting the right decision, is getting a fast one. If you need to wait for an unnecessarily long time, you feel less welcome, and if you are rejected, having to wait long isn’t nice at all.’ 

Results-oriented approach

‘Today, clients receive a decision much faster than a couple of years ago. It even happened that a client called me in surprise, asking how it was possible that they had received a decision so soon. We rarely exceed the legal time. We are proud that we can do this, even with a huge increase in the number of requests. But we didn’t get there without effort. We trained new staff and managers have started to focus more on results in addition to quality. For staff it has become clearer what they need to complete each year. They can also monitor this themselves.’ 

Informing one another

‘In addition, employees come up with their own initiatives for improvement. For instance, we now have “knot-cutting teams” and  we started drawing up reports that give good insight. As soon as we see a case approaching the end of its term, we pick it up. If the case is very complicated, we discuss it with several colleagues and cut the Gordian knot together. We share the considerations and outcomes with all naturalisation colleagues in regular meetings and newsletters. This can help us to decide in similar cases.’ 

Forecasts

‘We also share information with Town Halls, where naturalisation requests are made. We regularly organise webinars to have a meaningful dialogue with civil servants. And we organise workshops during the NVVB congress, for example to discuss current policy changes together. This helps all parties involved in naturalisation requests to keep well-informed. By also using forecasts of the number of requests, we can take decisions carefully and in good time for everyone. We continue to improve these forecast models, so that the forecasts keep getting more accurate. So we are well-prepared. And we make everyone who is entitled to Dutch citizenship feel welcome.’

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