To be precise: 32 per cent of international graduates have a job in the Netherlands a year after graduation in 2018. Earlier, this hovered around 22 per cent, but CBS now reports that it went up fast among the 2018 batch of graduates.

Some of that last batch entered the labour market during the corona crisis. Perhaps that made them more likely to stay in the Netherlands, working in whatever job. “We don’t distinguish whether someone has work that fits their studies or whether someone works in a supermarket, so to speak”, says CBS spokesperson Tanja Traag.

Should it indeed be a Covid effect, the rate will fall again after this. “An alternative theory is tightness in the labour market,” Traag suggests. “If that’s the reason, we expect this high proportion to remain or perhaps even rise further.” Still this year, CBS will release figures on the 2019 batch, Traag announces.


Either way, the labour market does have an impact on the ‘chance of staying’. According to CBS, the studies with the highest percentage of ‘remainers’ are almost all in a technical direction. Engineering is a so-called ‘shortage sector’, where many people are needed. Gemiddeld

There are more and more international students in the Netherlands, especially in university master’s programmes, so more are graduating. In 2019/2020, there were almost 20,000.

There are many voices in politics to curb the influx of foreign students, partly because the government would spend too much money on students who do not stay here anyway. Others point to the economic benefits of internationalisation. At the bottom line, internationals make money for the treasury, argues internationalisation organisation Nuffic. This would amount to about 1.5 billion euro a year.

University students from outside Europe are particularly lucrative. After all, the government doesn’t fund their studies, while those staying pay proportionately high taxes, thanks to their high salaries.

Most popular fields of study

By the way, most international students choose a university bachelor in behaviour and society, CBS reported last week. In the applied sciences, art studies are particularly popular.

In those sectors, about one in four is working in the Netherlands a year after graduating. By comparison, in engineering, computer science and services, it is almost one in two.

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