Eindhoven International Community Joins Forces with Local Companies to Address Increase in Global Labor Mobility

Eindhoven, the Netherlands, June 13, 2016. ⎯ Expat Spouses Initiative, together with EY, have announced the launch of ESI B.V., a social enterprise born out of the desire to create more opportunities for internationals in the Eindhoven region. EY, one of the leading service providers to large enterprises in the region and globally, is a founding partner of ESI B.V.

As the residents of Eindhoven are well aware, workers are becoming increasingly mobile. International careers that span several countries are becoming commonplace. Highly-skilled employees recruited from outside the country are bringing their partners with them when they move. The trailing partners are usually also highly-skilled, but for various reasons often find it next to impossible to integrate professionally in the host country, especially in countries such as the Netherlands, where the language is frequently a barrier.

The frustration felt by many international spouses might be called a symptom of a larger issue. Bringing in internationals to live and work in a host country inevitably has a changing effect on both the internationals and the locals. The question for Eindhoven is: Can the two mix, or will it always be “us” and “them”? In order for the region to grow, both groups of people have to adapt. The internationals have to find ways of integrating, and the government and organizations in Eindhoven have to respond in a proactive way to the changing demographics in their region.

Expat Spouses Initiative as a foundation has already made a great deal of progress in bringing about such a proactive response: Since the end of 2014, over 100 events, workshops, and classes have been organized in collaboration with the region’s organizations, and the ESI community of highly-skilled international spouses has grown to over 500 in the database.

Integration happens faster for internationals when they are employed in the host country. ESI B.V.’s immediate goal is to place spouses into jobs that suit their capabilities and ambitions, and in doing so, to aid companies in tapping into the huge talent pool of highly-skilled internationals available in the region. Expat Spouses Initiative has already successfully placed over 25 internationals into jobs in organizations in the region.


ESI’s overarching goal has always been to bring about change in response to the influx of highly-skilled internationals in the Eindhoven region. Now, with the launch of the B.V., they will be able to accomplish this in a way that will have a far more extensive social impact. ESI has already begun working together with important companies and organizations in the Eindhoven region, such as EY, USG People, HighTechXL, TU/e, and Holland Expat Center This collaborative network will eventually allow companies to make dual career offers to potential recruits (one for the desired employee, and one for the spouse), by using connections with other participating companies in the network.


In addition to providing a proactive response to the increase in global worker mobility, Expat Spouses Initiative is leading the way as a new kind of recruitment services company. It provides a more comprehensive, organic approach to recruitment and the integration of international professionals. One the one hand, through its nonprofit foundation and its community of internationals, it approaches recruitment and integration as an insider, from the bottom up. On the other hand, through the B.V.’s growing connections with companies in the region, it is now able to approach the situation from the top down.


Kavitha Varathan, CEO and founder of ESI B.V., comments: “Ultimately, the issues that ESI is addressing are much bigger than spouses sitting at home with their skills going unused. ESI is doing the right thing and bringing about change on so many levels. It’s doing the right thing for spouses and partners, but also for the bigger picture of global mobility. It is changing how local environments respond to the mobility challenge, and how internationals are meaningfully integrated into the host society.”


Partner at EY and driver of the collaboration with ESI B.V. Joost Smits, also adds his thoughts: “Part of EY’s mission is ‘building a better working world’, and I see our collaboration with ESI as an important way of accomplishing this. We had to get active and help this great initiative to succeed and improve the Eindhoven expat community.”

For more information contact Luciana Opran, luciana.opran@expatspousesinitiative.org.