Coronavirus: more international graduates plan to leave the Netherlands

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Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education, has polled 608 international students who recently graduated in the Netherlands or are about to do so. They were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their post-graduation plans.

Lost talent
Considering all respondents, regardless of where they come from, the Corona crisis does not seem to have affected graduates’ plans all that much. Before the pandemic hit, around 57% of respondents wanted to continue living and working in the Netherlands. That share has decreased only slightly: down to 54%.

But the response from students from outside Europe shows a marked difference. In order to work in the Netherlands after graduation, they have to apply for a residence permit. Only 56% of them say they plan to do so, compared to 72% before the crisis. This means that the Netherlands is likely to lose a lot of talent in the year ahead.

The unfolding economic crisis has caused internationals to be far gloomier about the prospect of finding a job in the Netherlands soon. In previous years, just over a quarter of respondents (28%) said that the lack of “career opportunities” was an obstacle to staying in the country. That figure has now risen to 44%.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. International students in technical study programmes appear to be more optimistic than the rest. According to the survey, they are more inclined to stay in the Netherlands (60%) than students in other disciplines (52%).

It should be noted that, although students from 86 countries completed the Nuffic survey, the sample is not entirely representative. Most of the respondents come from India (14 percent), Germany and Indonesia (both 11 percent), while the majority of international students in the Netherlands come from Germany, Italy and China.