Europe loses out on foreign talent

Nieuws | de redactie
20 april 2012 | Over 60% of international students want to settle in their host country after graduation, yet only 25% succeed. What drives foreign talent and what policies are necessary to tackle skills shortage? A new study gives insights.

An expert group of migration German researchers (SVR) had a closer look at the status quo ofinternational students in major European countries. 6200 studentsstudying in Germany, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdomand Sweden participated in the study. The results show that while alarge portion of foreign talent wants to continue working in theirhost countries, few of them succeed in the end.

Germany attractive, UK not

International students in Germany (79.8%) and Sweden (75.7%) areparticularly eager to settle down after their graduation. Yet, only26% of the internationals in Germany realize that desire. For theUK this rate is around 25% which is OECD average. Noteworthy isthat the overall share of foreign students that plans to stay inthe UK is comparably low (51.4% for Masters).

At the same time, the British higher education systems boaststhe highest share of international students with 20.7%. Francefollows second (11.5%), Germany third (10.5%), Sweden (9.4%) andthe Netherlands (7.2%) last. These numbers take into account bothnon-EU and European international students.

international students in Europe

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 inSweden (€800) and the Netherlands (€795). In the UK, these varysignificantly 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. Especiallyinternational students in the disciplines of engineering, naturalsciences and mathematics are more likely to stay in their hostcountry. By contrast, it appears that for students from socialsciences, arts, humanities and medicine it is hard to find a jobafter graduation. “Employment in these areas mostly requiresculture-specific knowledge and advanced language skills,” the studyauthors argue.

A big issue for international students is that they do not knowwhat the rules are to continue working in their host country oncethey are graduate (around 40% in all five countries). These rulesvary widely per country. While Germany is set to allow non-EUgraduates to stay up to 18 months to find a job after theirgraduation, the UK recently toughened its immigration policy.

Interested in the full study? Please click here (in German).

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