In 2018 the Zuid-Limburg region had approximately 21.700 ‘international employees’. The number of international employees rose by 18% between 2010 and 2018. Some 6.300 of them are so called ‘knowledge workers’ or highly skilled workers, representing 29% of all international employees in the region, which is higher than the Dutch average level.
This shows that Zuid-Limburg (and the surrounding Euregio Meuse-Rhine) is an attractive region for highly skilled internationals. Especially Maastricht attracts internationals. Two thirds of the knowledge workers living in Zuid-Limburg live in this city. It also shows the importance of internationals (both migrant and knowledge workers) for the (eu)regional labour market, knowing that 65% of the knowledge workers are still active after one year and 38% even after 5 years (of the migrant workers 56% resp. 26%).
Of the knowledge workers, 27% are Belgian nationals; 24% are German and around 20% come from other EU countries. A little more than a quarter come from outside the EU. Of the ‘migrant workers’, 21% are Polish; 18% German and 10% Belgian. Of all the international employees (migrant workers + knowledge workers), 17% (3620) are cross-border commuters, of whom 2.800 live in Belgium and 820 in Germany. Most new international knowledge workers come from nearby Belgium and Germany as well as from Poland. Most of the knowledge workers who left the region in 2018 are from Germany and Belgium.
The ‘Stuurgroep Internationale Werknemers’ assumes that, despite the currebt Corona crisis, the number of international workers will continue to grow, firstly because of the expected quick economic recovery from the crisis and, secondly, because of the aging population.
The Zuid-Limburg labour market cannot be seen separately from its euregional context, because of the sheer fact that the region is literally surrounded by Belgium and Germany and quite a few Germans moved to Zuid-Limburg and continue to work in Germany (mostly Aachen). It would be interesting to have similar data for the other regions of the Euregio Meuse-Rhine. Download the full report (in Dutch) of the analysis made by Decisio and Companen.