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The Netherlands increases efforts to keep international students

22 December 2013, 17:18

Many of international students in Holland tend to leave country upon completing degree programme, either due to the difficulties in finding work, or immigration and work visa problems. The Dutch government, industry, organisations, and educational institutions are hoping to make the changes necessary in order to reverse this trend and to help more international students remain in the country after graduating.

Amsterdam, The NetherlandsDutch higher education institutions attract a large percentage of international students to study in the Netherlands; over 80,000 students in Holland come from outside of the country. However, many of these students have tended to leave after graduating, either due to the difficulties in finding work, or immigration and work visa problems.

The Dutch government, industry, organisations, and educational institutions are hoping to make the changes necessary in order to reverse this trend and to help more international students remain in the country after graduating.

The “Make it in the Netherlands” action plan

According to studies conducted, around 70% of international students that are studying in the Netherlands would like to remain in the country after finishing their programme. However, about only 27% of them actually are able to do this.

The Minister of Education, Culture, and Science, Jet Bussemaker, recently revealed an action plan called “Make it in the Netherlands”. The plan has three aims:

  • to make sure international students feel welcome in the country, and to reassure them that they can begin a career in Holland,
  • to increase the number of international students that decide to stay in the country after graduating to work, especially in the top sectors,
  • to ensure that international students, even those that return home after graduating, have a strong connection to the Netherlands.

This plan of action draws on a paper of the same name published earlier in 2013 by the Social and Economic Council (SER), the main advisory board of the Dutch government with regard to national and international social and economic policies.

Integration and learning Dutch

University of AmsterdamOne of the main obstacles that international students seem to face, according to a paper by SER, is learning the Dutch language. While studying, students generally do not learn Dutch as English is usually the language of instruction and communication outside of school can also be done in English as most Dutch people speak the language well.

However, if they intend to stay in the Netherlands to work after graduating, international students will need to learn Dutch. The action plan will aim to implement a way for international students to easily access Dutch language courses while studying.

Integration can also be a difficulty at times. The action plan hopes to implement a Dutch “buddy” system in order to pair up international students with a Dutch friend that can make the transition smoother. A change to the way accommodation for international students is organised may also help the integration process.

New grants and internships

Scholarships and grants will also be increased by both institutions and industries to help attract more international students. The Technology Pact provides 1,000 scholarships to students wishing to study in a technology-oriented field. More information about the possibilities to remain in the country will be provided by organisations such as Holland Alumni, and the plan will also encourage industry and educational institutions to cooperate in order to provide more part-time positions and internships to international students.

Visa terms

The government is also implementing a faster method of authorization that allows international knowledge migrants and researchers to work upon arriving to the country, instead of having to wait for their permanent residence status. A sticker can now be placed on the MVV, the provisional residence permit that internationals receive before being allowed to enter the Netherlands. For those not requiring an MVV visa, the sticker can be placed in a passport at any of the expat centres or IND offices.

Currently, the only sector in which there are significantly more Dutch workers compared to international workers is the public services sector. In all other sectors (manufacturing, trade and transport, financial services, commercial services, and others), foreign workers are distributed almost equally to or at a higher percentage than Dutch workers.

Source: nuffic.nl

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