20200722 Nuffic – How is COVID-19 affecting international students plans to study in the Netherlands – part 3Download
Study into the effects of the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic on the plans of international graduates in Dutch higher education.
Main findings and considerations
- The majority of respondents’ plans after graduation seem not to have changed since the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis. 70.7% of the 608 graduates who completed our survey indicated that they wanted to pursue the plans they had before the crisis (e.g. they had been planning to look for a job in the Netherlands before the crisis began and they still intended to do so).
- Even though the percentage of respondents who intended to work in the Netherlands, whether still looking for work or already with a job offer, had decreased only slightly, from 57.3% to 53.5%, almost 20% of the respondents who indicated in September that they intended to work in the Netherlands were residing in their home country. With the current crisis, it is possible that they will not be able to return to the Netherlands, for example due to travel restrictions.
- The COVID-19 crisis seems to have had a negative influence on respondents’ attitudes towards career prospects with regard to their decision to stay in the Netherlands: more graduates saw career prospects as a deterring factor when it came to their decision to stay and work in the Netherlands (the percentage increased from 28.3% to 43.8%) and fewer students saw it as a positive factor (this percentage decreased from 50.8% to 38.2%).
- Among non-EU respondents, the percentage of graduates who were planning to apply for a residency permit (such as the Search Year permit) dropped by 16% (from 71.5% to 55.5%).
- The plans of the graduates who were planning to move to a third country changed the most (only 45.1% still had this plan in mind in September). The plans of those who had already found a job or who were looking for one changed the least: 73.3% of this group were planning to pursue their initial plans.
- Pre-crisis, the availability of accommodation was the strongest negative factor influencing the decision to stay. The development of COVID-19 has now surpassed this, as 43% of respondents indicates it had had a negative or highly negative influence on their decision to stay. For 21,9% of respondents, the development of COVID-19 in the Netherlands was a factor that contributed positively to their decision to stay.
- Overall quality of life in the Netherlands was the biggest positive factor for international graduates deciding to stay in the Netherlands, followed by the quality of education/research and the work-life balance. The COVID-19 crisis had not changed this top 3.
- In line with previous stay rate studies, more graduates with a technical degree were planning to stay in the Netherlands to work (59.5%) compared to other graduates (51.8%). Moreover, in both situations – before the crisis started and during the crisis – technical degree graduates indicated that career prospects had a (strong) positive influence on their decision to stay in the Netherlands more often than other respondents. However, this percentage fell by 11.5% from 57.3% before the COVID-19 crisis started to 45.8%.
- A majority of respondents (52.8%) indicated that the information provision about starting a career in the Netherlands was insufficient.