More and more international students continue to work in the Netherlands after their studies, reports the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Of the international students who graduated in the 2018-2019 academic year, 32 percent had a job in the Netherlands a year later. In previous years that percentage was around 20 percent.
Many international students, especially with a diploma in services, computer science, education or technology, find a job in the Netherlands within a year after graduating. Students of management, business and human resources sciences or psychology often leave again. Less than a third of this group works in the Netherlands after a year.
Fewer English lessons
There may be a corona effect in the figures because the pandemic broke out in the research year, but according to Statistics Netherlands, this cannot yet be said. All in all, according to outgoing Education Minister Dijkgraaf, the figures are good news, because international graduates contribute to the Dutch knowledge economy.
“We desperately need that international talent, especially in shortage sectors such as technology and IT,” says Dijkgraaf. “The CBS research also shows that relatively many students go to work in those sectors.”
However, the minister would like to see a higher percentage of international students stay in the Netherlands. “Being able to get a job is one of the factors that increases the chance of staying for international graduates,” says Dijkgraaf. “I want to increase the chance of staying by strengthening the bond of international students with the Netherlands.”
He wants to do this, among other things, by having more lessons given in Dutch. The idea is that this will make education less attractive for international students who do not speak the language. If they do learn the language, they are more likely to stay in the Netherlands after their studies.
Packed lecture halls
The growing number of international students has been causing problems for some time. The lecture halls are packed, the workload for teachers is high and there is far too little living space for both international and Dutch students.
This is one of the reasons that more and more Dutch students are staying at home for longer. Last year there were 23,700 too few rooms. According to researcher Kences, this could increase to around 57,000 rooms in 2030-2031.
For these reasons, Dijkgraaf said earlier this year that he wants to slow down the arrival of international students, although this is a difficult task. Within the European Union, students have the right to study anywhere. The Netherlands cannot simply deny students from the EU a course.
Good work culture
The Chinese Yibing Wang is one of the students who decided to stay. She now works here as a graphic designer. She says the high level of English and the friendly, helpful people brought her to the Netherlands.
“Sometimes we say that the Dutch are like coconuts: hard on the outside and soft on the inside,” says Yibing. She is particularly impressed by the government’s administration. “It’s well organized here.”
After her studies, Yibing applied for a visa for a ‘search year’, which allows students from outside the European Union to look for a job for a year. According to her, that was stressful because she received little help.
She now has a job and has no plans to return to China. “The work culture there is not nice for women and there is a lot of age discrimination,” she says. “Here you can even joke with your boss.”
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