Foreign students are needed, migration commission believes

Future cabinets should make efforts to reduce the migration balance, says a new demography report. But there is no need to put a brake on the number of student migrants, according to the committee.

Study migrants provide the Netherlands with more than they cost. So writes the State Commission on Demographic Developments 2050 (Dutch) in their report presented on Monday. The committee calls for limited migration to prevent the Dutch population from expanding too much and jeopardising prosperity. But the authors see no financial arguments to extend that reasoning to foreign students.

In the report, the committee states that college and university students from both inside and outside Europe bring “more benefits than costs” to the national budget. Even including the costs of social security, healthcare and general provisions, the balance remains positive, according to the State Committee. This is because a large proportion of international students continue to work here.

Solidarity under pressure

The increasing internationalisation of higher education does put solidarity under pressure, according to the report. International students take study places, require housing and health care, causing more scarcity. There might be a risk that wealthy families will more often buy their own education, further reinforcing inequality of opportunity.

To prevent this, the committee says, the government must make ‘social and robust choices’, keeping in mind the ‘gaps’ between the highly educated and less educated, for example, as well as young and old.

Migration sceptics

The committee was set up in late 2022 by the now outgoing cabinet. The parties trying to form a new cabinet are migration sceptics, not shunning the influx of foreign students. One of the measures they might take is limiting English as the language of instruction at university.

Source: HOP (Bas Belleman)

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