Open our doors to foreign students


The Netherlands should stop being afraid, according to chairman Bernard Wientjes of employers’ organisation VNO-NCW. “We should throw our doors wide open to foreign students.”

His views were published in Transfer, a magazine for international cooperation in higher education. In the same article, he warns for a huge imminent shortage of science students. The threat is so great that it renders the costs of foreign students insignificant in comparison. “If a high-tech company such as ASML cannot find sufficient employees in the coming years, they will be forced to take their production elsewhere. In some sectors, the problems are already being felt.”

Foreign students should be recruited more specifically, but the government is discouraging this. The discussion about the relatively large number of Germans studying in the Netherlands, Wientjes says, is “absurd” and the survey by State Secretary Zijlstra on the cost and benefit of foreign students is a “useless defensive exercise”.

He believes that the benefits cannot be quantified: “For example, Russians who have studied in the Netherlands are all ambassadors of our country. The impact cannot be measured.”



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