The data collected from 2006 until 2009 show that the financial
crisis dealt a serious blow to international labor migration,
decreasing it by 7%. Free-circulations movements within the
European Union Schengen area declined even more drastically by 36%,
comparing numbers from 2009 and 2007. This has primarily to do with
the economic slump.
Overall, international student flows to OECD members grew in the
majority of countries. Between 2007 and 2008, this number rose by
5% which is a notch higher than the average 3% increase between
2004 and 2008.
The Netherlands are an exception to this phenomenon. The number
of international (non-European) students remained stuck at 10.000
while influx growth slowed from 18% to 9%. If you put the share of
international students in relation to population size, the Dutch
score even lower on internationality, well behind countries like
Germany, Czech Republic and Greece.
The number one source of foreign students in OECD countries is
China (410.000, or 18%), followed by India (163.000, or 7%) and
South Korea (110.000, or 5%). Authors of the report state that "in principle, international
students can serve as a source of high skilled
17-33% of international graduates stay
Data show that between 17% and 33% of foreign students stay in
their host country upon graduation. This insight is especially
important for the ever-ageing countries in the European Union who
are in desperate need for highly qualified workers bolstering their
In this area, the Netherlands does quite well. 27% of all
international graduates extend their stay to find a job at Dutch
businesses. Other countries such as Austria perform much worse with
a "stay rate" of merely 17%. France and Canada lead the pack with
32% and 33%, respectively.
The British, meanwhile, experienced the largest increase of
migrants changing their status to permanent residence (14%).
According to the OECD analysts, this primarily has to do with
students deciding to stay in the UK after graduation and
consequently does not indicate a sudden influx of immigrants.
Main obstacle for foreign graduates looking for a job remains the
language barrier. Especially countries like the Netherlands,
Germany and Austria who offer tertiary education in English need to
look for ways to educate international graduates to speak the
In France and Spain, this is not an issue since most study
programs are in French and Spanish. This suggests that impactful
internationalization of the Netherlands' higher education sector
then goes hand in hand with integrating Dutch language courses with
Source: OECD Migration Report 2011
Liberate or Restrict?
The OECD report further outlines the different policies its
members adopted towards migration. Finland took a more liberal
approach by introducing changes to its Nationality Act effective
from September 2011.
International students will then be eligible to gain Finnish
citizenship within 5 years of staying in Finland.Half of the time
they spent studying there will count for this rule as well.
Similarly, other countries like Norway, Switzerland and Japan by
now grant foreigners at least 6 months to look for a job after they
graduate in their host country.
Great Britain, by contrast, is depicted as implementing most
restrictive measures. This insight is not surprising. Seeing masses
of immigrants arrive at London Heathrow is definitely a horror
vision to David Cameron and in particular his supporters.
Only last year, Prime Minister Cameron introduced a migration cap that will cut the number of
visas given out to international students by approximately 88.000.
Next to the migration caps, the UK made language requirements
tougher and limits possibilities of foreign students to stay and
work after graduation.
Other English speaking countries follow suit. In Australia, this
takes the form of increasing compliance controls fighting spreading
document fraud of visa applicants. Even Canada tightened the
issuing of work permits. Previously, it was sufficient to have
studied one year at a Canadian university. Now, one's
specialization is required to be on a skills shortage list unless
you already have a final employment offer.