The Netherlands is becoming a more attractive destination for foreign talent

The Netherlands is becoming a more attractive destination for foreign talent

The Dutch government wants the Netherlands to become more attractive for talented foreign students, researchers and knowledge workers. It is developing an action plan to lure talented young people to the Netherlands to study and then persuade them to stay here when they start their career.

Make it in the Netherlands

The Social and Economic Council (SER), the main advisory body to the Dutch government and the parliament on national and international social and economic policy, recently published Make it in the Netherlands!, a paper which underscores the importance of attracting and retaining talented foreign students.

The government feels that students, both international and Dutch, are a boon not for both higher education institutions and the private sector but also the Netherlands as a whole.

A programme like this could result in a larger pool of skilled workers for certain sectors, like hi-tech Research and Development, without excluding Dutch candidates in the labour market.

The benefits of students

The Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) recently concluded that foreign students have considerable economic value for the Netherlands.

The CPB estimates that, if one in five foreign students stays in the Netherlands after graduating, public revenues would increase by 740 million euros.

Many international students themselves are also keen to stay here after graduation. Surveys have shown that over 60 per cent of foreign Masters students in the Netherlands plan to stay.

Turning study to work

Foreign students are more likely to want to stay in the Netherlands if they have already managed to find a job here during their studies.

They may be helped in this by the recent announcement that over the next seven years the Netherlands will receive some 450 million euros from the European Social Fund (ESF) to help job-seekers develop the skills that are in demand on the labour market.

Most of this funding will be distributed among municipalities, which are divided into 35 regional labour markets. Another share will go to the private sector.

The State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment, Jetta Klijnsma, said, "It is expressly to be used to help people find a job or change jobs, because it's important that people remain employable now and in the future."

2015 update

In 2015 the Dutch government introduced a new orientation year residence permit for international graduates in the Netherlands to stay in the country for an extra year to look for a job.

In the same year the startup visa was also introduced to attract entrepreneurs who want to start a business in the Netherlands.

Source: Government of the Netherlands

Alexandra Gowling


Alexandra Gowling

Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in Asia before coming to the Netherlands a year ago. She enjoys writing, reading...

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