International alumni from Dutch universities generate millions of euros for the Netherlands

9 Jan 2017 | Genoveva Geppaart

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EP Nuffic researched the so-called stay-rate of international students who graduated in the Netherlands between 2007 and 2014, meaning those that decide to remain in the Netherlands after completion of their studies. 

 In the research, international students were divided into the following groups:

  • Leavers
  • Stayers who continued with further higher education
  • Stayers who found a paid job in the Netherlands
  • Others stayers, i.e. those who stayed in the Netherlands for other reasons such as parenthood, freelancing, etc.


25% Stay-rate

An average of 25% of all students (during the period under investigation) chose to remain in the Netherlands. The research found a strong correlation existing between finding a paid job (as employee) and the likelihood of staying on in the Netherlands. Some interesting findings of the research were:

  • Students from outside the EER stayed on more often than students from within the EER.
  • Those who studied at a university of applied science (HBO) stayed more often than those who studied at a research university (VWO).
  • Students who graduated in healthcare and science/technology stayed more often than others.


Economic effects

The estimated economic effects of international students was calculated as approximately €1,57 billion over the period under investigation. If the stay-rate were to increase by only 1%, the economic effects were estimated as an additional €60 million. The benefits of students staying on clearly make it interesting for the Netherlands to develop a policy for international students as a special category of knowledge migrant.


Another consideration is that international students who leave the Netherlands are often great ambassadors for Dutch education and the relative benefits of living in Dutch society. Further research regarding the economic and social value of manipulating the rate at which students remain in the Netherlands will surely be interesting, watch this space!


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