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Netherlands: fewer int’l grads likely to stay

International graduates of Dutch higher education institutions are more likely to return home on graduation when compared to student sentiment prior to the global coronavirus pandemic, a Nuffic survey has suggested.

Some 43.4% indicated that Covid-19 in the Netherlands had a negative or highly negative influence on their attitude towards staying in the country. Photo: pexels

A non-EU student contributes €68,500 to the economy per student if they study at a university of applied sciences

Analysing answers from 608 international students from 86 different countries, the Dutch internationalisation organisation found that slightly fewer students want to continue living and working in the Netherlands than before the crisis.

“It is a signal that the crisis is having a negative impact”

Pre-pandemic around 57.3% of recent graduates or those close to graduating said they wanted to remain in the Netherlands, while the most recent survey found that 53.5% wanted to do the same now.

The largest change in student planning over the coronavirus pandemic was, however, the cohort of students that responded that they were unsure what they would do upon graduation. Pre-pandemic some 4.8% of international students said they were undecided, while the most recent survey found this increased to 8.1%.

According to Nuffic, non-EU students are more likely than European counterparts to want to remain in the country.

While some 72% of students from outside the EU said they intended to apply for a residence permit for a longer stay in the Netherlands prior to the pandemic, students now indicating the same has decreased to 56%.

Additionally, of the 131 international technical degree students surveyed, 60% expressed an intention to stay in the Netherlands compared to 52% of students in other fields of study.

While for this cohort of students says career opportunities have a positive influence on a longer stay in the Netherlands, the proportion of students positive about the job chances in the Netherlands fell from 57.3% pre-pandemic, to 45.8% now.

“It is not the case that the differences are enormous; indeed, they are still relatively subtle. At the same time, however, it is a signal that the crisis is having a negative impact,” Nuffic spokesperson Jeroen Wienen told The PIE News.

“We cannot simply assume that international students are immune to the consequences of the crisis, we have to have a plan for them.”

As a “true knowledge economy”, the Netherlands’ classrooms, as well as its economy, benefits from international talent, Wienen highlighted.

A 2019 study by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis shows a non-EU student contributes €68,500 to the economy per student if they study at a university of applied sciences, and €96,300 if they are a research university student.

“From the moment internationals arrive as students, they add to our country”

Each EU student at university of applied sciences also contributes €5,000, while this increases to €16,900 for a student at research university.

“From the moment internationals arrive as students, they add to our country, both in the classroom and beyond,” Wienen said.

“If fewer students decide to stay, this amount will also decrease.”

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