An expert group of migration German researchers (SVR) had a closer look at the status quo of
international students in major European countries. 6200 students
studying in Germany, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom
and Sweden participated in the study. The results show that while a
large portion of foreign talent wants to continue working in their
host countries, few of them succeed in the end.
Germany attractive, UK not
International students in Germany (79.8%) and Sweden (75.7%) are
particularly eager to settle down after their graduation. Yet, only
26% of the internationals in Germany realize that desire. For the
UK this rate is around 25% which is OECD average. Noteworthy is
that the overall share of foreign students that plans to stay in
the UK is comparably low (51.4% for Masters).
At the same time, the British higher education systems boasts
the highest share of international students with 20.7%. France
follows second (11.5%), Germany third (10.5%), Sweden (9.4%) and
the Netherlands (7.2%) last. These numbers take into account both
non-EU and European international students.
Steep tuition fees for foreigners
For non-EU students, yearly tuition fees can become very steep.
While public universities in Germany (up to €1000) and France
(€750) charge little, a Master in Sweden (€12.000), the Netherlands
(€15.000), UK (18.000) is quite a luxury.
Regarding monthly living costs, it is most expensive to stay in
Sweden (€800) and the Netherlands (€795). In the UK, these vary
significantly per location (between €685-€915), while Germany
(€670) and France (€430) are lighter on student pockets.
Engineers more likely to stay
The researchers point out another phenomenon. Especially
international students in the disciplines of engineering, natural
sciences and mathematics are more likely to stay in their host
country. By contrast, it appears that for students from social
sciences, arts, humanities and medicine it is hard to find a job
after graduation. "Employment in these areas mostly requires
culture-specific knowledge and advanced language skills," the study
A big issue for international students is that they do not know
what the rules are to continue working in their host country once
they are graduate (around 40% in all five countries). These rules
vary widely per country. While Germany is set to allow non-EU
graduates to stay up to 18 months to find a job after their
graduation, the UK recently toughened its immigration policy.
Interested in the full study? Please click here (in German).