Main findings and considerations/executive summary
Between 7 and 30 September 2021, a survey was conducted among 409 international students who had finished or would soon finish a Bachelor’s, Master’s, internship or PhD programme at a Dutch higher education institution. What were their plans following graduation and how were these plans affected by the pandemic? And what factors influenced their decision to stay? In this summary, you will find our main findings in abbreviated form – please find all details (and other interesting findings!) in the respective chapters.
- For international students, the Netherlands remains an attractive country to live and work after graduation. More than half of respondents (57%) indicated that it is likely or very likely that they will live (and work or study) in the Netherlands after they have completed all their studies or research.
- Time spent (residing) in the Netherlands greatly affects the likelihood of remaining in the country after graduation.
- Respondents from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) significantly more often indicated that it is likely or very likely that they will live in the Netherlands when they are done with all their studies or with their research (59%) compared to EEA respondents (45%).
- There is a difference between EEA and non-EEA when it comes to the influence of the pandemic itself. Respondents from outside the EEA more often indicated that the pandemic itself made them more inclined to live and work in the Netherlands after their studies (27%) compared to EEA respondents (7%).
- When asked about their current plans, a majority of respondents (57%) indicated that they lived (or planned to live) in the Netherlands to work or to pursue another degree.
- The actual stay rates data from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) show that 50% of the international students who graduated in the academic year 2019-2020 were still in the Netherlands in January 2021. Our survey data thus suggest that we can expect similar numbers this year.
- Most graduates who were looking for a job found one, be it in their home country, working and living in the Netherlands or working remotely for an employer in the Netherlands.
- When comparing respondents’ plans before the pandemic started to their current plans, it turned out that almost half of them (46%) had changed their plans.
- Quality of life and quality of education and research in the Netherlands are the major factors positively affecting international graduates’ likelihood of living in the Netherlands. The COVID-19 pandemic and availability of housing have had a negative influence on respondents’ plans to live in the Netherlands.
- Having lived in the Netherlands in the previous academic year, combined with a favourable perception of the job market in the Netherlands and an unfavourable perception of the job market at home, has had a positive influence on respondents’ intentions to live in the Netherlands after having completed all their studies or research.
- Just like in our survey last year, a little over half of non-EEA respondents were applying or had applied for a Dutch residence permit, but familiarity with the various Dutch residence permits dropped compared to last year.
- Communication about the development of COVID-19 in the Netherlands and about starting a career in the Netherlands after graduation can be improved.
- Respondents showed mixed opinions about information provision regarding these topics.