The Netherlands looks to retain overseas students

13 December, 2013

The government of the Netherlands has released an action strategy to increase the retention rate of international students in the country after graduation and help students integrate.

The strategy hopes to encourage more international students to stay in the Netherlands after study

The report, Make It in the Netherlands! states in its foreword that 70 per cent of international students express a willingness to stay and work in the country, but that only 27 per cent actually do stay. “We plan to call on international students to make their careers in the Netherlands, to spend several years working here and to build lasting ties with the Netherlands,” said the report.

The government said it would work together with education groups to promote career options. “A more strategic approach to recruitment is to promote study programmes and careers together, devoting specific attention to those specialisations offering good career prospects.”

Joint information packages on working and studying will be produced, while all key information on careers will be brought together at the website. Administrative procedures will be simplified, made bilingual where possible and highlight the post-study work rights of international students in the country.

The government will introduce more internships for international students, while also calling on the business community to promote study grants and work opportunities. “Prior research has shown that students who complete work experience during their studies are more likely to keep working in the Netherlands,” the report states.

In terms of social integration, students will be offered a free introductory Dutch language Mooc (Massive Open Online Course), while all information on language courses at institutions will be brought together. Although the wide availability of English-delivered degrees is an attraction to students, a lack of Dutch language skills was cited as barrier to integration and work. Existing buddy systems for international students will be expanded, and training will be offered to academic staff for best practices in managing international classrooms.

Furthermore, the government will encourage regional pilot schemes in order to match international students with the needs of local labour markets. The action plan is supported by a coalition of actors, including the government, research universities, universities of applied sciences, employer umbrella organisations and individual companies.

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