Out of all the ‘international students’ who obtained their degrees during the 2006-2007 academic year, some 2,500 were still living in the Netherlands five years later. Out of all the international students who graduated in 2012-2013, some 3,500 are still in the Netherlands today.

Nuffic was therefore delighted to conclude that in terms of absolute numbers, more ‘international talent’ is staying in the Netherlands. However, there is more to the story than that. The ‘remainers’ constitute an increasingly small share of all the international students graduating from Dutch tertiary education institutions.

Contribution to government coffers

This number is officially called the ‘stay rate’: the percentage of foreign graduates who still live in the Netherlands five years after obtaining their degrees. In the six years covered by the Nuffic study, this stay rate fell from 29 per cent (2006 graduates) to 22 per cent (2012 graduates).

According to the survey, the stay rate of the internationals at the EUR is 26.2 per cent, or 4,335 graduates. These internationals graduated in academic year 2006/’07 up to and including academic year 2012/’13.

One in five international graduates intend to stay in the Netherlands for ever, a previous study showed. These highly educated people pay relatively high taxes, which annually contributes €1.64 billion to the government coffers.

Students that graduated from technological universities are particularly likely to stay in the Netherlands after graduating. 41 per cent of those graduates end up staying. Eindhoven University of Technology’s international students seem to be particularly fond of the Netherlands, with more than half of them staying after obtaining their degrees.

Graduates in teaching, health care and natural sciences often end up finding jobs here, too, because there are staff shortages in these fields. Many art school graduates choose to continue their careers here, as well.

Nuffic believes the stay rate will increase again now that the economy is improving. Five years ago, the Netherlands was still dealing with the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, which made it less easy for international graduates to find jobs in our country. This is no longer the case today.

English-language courses

It should be noted that Nuffic’s numbers do not pertain to foreign students, per se, but rather to international students, including Dutch students who grew up abroad.

The increase in the number of international students attending Dutch tertiary education institutions is somewhat controversial. Critics feel that Dutch higher education institutions are undermining the quality of their teaching by offering more and more English-language degree programmes. For their part, the education institutions claim that their degree programmes are actually benefitting from the resulting ‘international classrooms’.

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