Study: Over 80% of International Students Choose to Stay in Netherlands Due to Career Opportunities

Netherlands Europe International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Dec 08, 2023

people in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Over 80 percent of international students who chose to stay in the Netherlands after graduation cited career opportunities as a crucial determining factor, according to a survey by Nuffic, the Dutch organization for the internationalization of education.

The recent survey conducted to understand the factors influencing international students’ decision to stay or leave the Netherlands also found that quality of life and a good work-life balance were noted as important factors in their decision-making process, Erudera.com reports.

A total of 84 percent of international students in the Netherlands said that quality of life played an “important” or “extremely important” role in their decision to stay in the country.

“This is especially true for students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), as they cited this aspect more often than those from within the EEA,” the report by Nuffic points out.

77 percent of students mentioned a good work-life balance as a factor prompting them to stay in the Netherlands. Additionally, 55 percent said being in a relationship in the country influenced their decision.

Other factors such as job stability, working conditions, pension, a higher salary, and personal development also contribute significantly to students' decision-making process.

“As a university, it is not our primary task to increase the stay rate. But we do, however, want to prepare our international students for the Dutch labour market as well as possible,” said Karen de Man, Senior International Relations Officer at Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR).

However, the survey also shed light on the challenges faced by international students while in the country, in particular in the professional arena. Most students reported similar challenges, with the housing shortage being one of them.

According to the findings, some students said they had experienced discrimination during job applications and at the workplace. Moreover, some said they faced difficulties finding jobs due to Dutch language proficiency requirements.

Some 55 percent of students who left the Netherlands after graduation cited their inability to find suitable jobs as the reason why they left the country.

In response to these findings, Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf emphasized the critical need for international talent, especially in sectors like technology. Dijkgraaf stressed that attracting international talent is essential, but equally crucial is retaining them.

Despite the recognized need for international talent, the current government aims to curb the influx of international students, in part by increasing the number of degree courses offered in Dutch.

Ahead of the new regulations, data revealed that fewer international students enrolled in a bachelor’s program at a Dutch university this year. Last month, the universities’ association UNL said that Dutch universities are less focused on enrolling international students.

>> Netherlands Ranks No. 1 for English Proficiency Globally: 90% Surge in Google Searches for Studying in the Country

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