The Netherlands aims to attract more talent from abroad

The Netherlands must become a more attractive destination for talented foreign students, researchers and knowledge workers. In accordance with a proposal by education minister Jet Bussemaker, the cabinet has decided to develop an action plan to lure talented young people to the Netherlands to study, and persuade them to stay here when they start their career.

The Social and Economic Council recently published an advisory opinion entitled ‘Make it in the Netherlands!’, which underscores the importance of attracting and retaining talented foreign students. The government agrees with the SER that students – both international and Dutch – are a boon not only for institutions of higher education but also for the private sector and the Netherlands as a whole. The government notes, especially, that this could also result in a larger pool of skilled workers for certain sectors, like hi-tech R&D, without crowding out Dutch candidates on the labour market.

The Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) recently concluded that foreign students have considerable economic value for the Netherlands. The CPB estimates that, if one in five foreign students stays in the Netherlands after graduating, public revenues would increase by €740 million. Many international students themselves are also keen to stay here after graduation. Some 64% of Master’s students surveyed plan to stay, 16% will leave and the remainder don’t yet know what they will do. Similar figures apply to PhD students. In this regard the Netherlands scores about the same as France (65%) and higher than the United Kingdom (51%), but lower than Sweden and Germany (76% and 80%, respectively). Foreign students are more likely to want to stay in the Netherlands if they have already gained some work experience here during their studies.

Source: Dutch government

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