The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) expects a record-breaking number of students from outside Europe to start a degree programme in the Netherlands in September.
In the first months of the year, up to and including July, the IND received 17,870 applications for a residence permit for studies. This is over twelve hundred more than in 2022.
According to the IND, most students come from China, India, the United States, Turkey and Indonesia. The press release says 98 percent of them actually get a residence permit.
Internationalisation of higher education is a sensitive issue, due to overcrowded lecture rooms, housing shortages and problems regarding students’ language proficiency. Research universities in particular draw many students from other countries.
Outgoing Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf took his time in coming up with an approach. He wants to coordinate the intake of international students better, without closing the borders to them altogether.
Especially language policy is a politically charged topic. Some parties, such as Pieter Omtzigt’s Nieuw Sociaal Contract, believe that Bachelor’s programmes in particular should be taught in Dutch.
Abiding by the law
It was never the intention for so many degree programmes to be taught in another language, Robbert Dijkgraaf (D66) admitted this past spring. But he also indicated that his hands were tied, because the institutions were abiding by the law, and that he wanted to make agreements about internationalisation with education administrators. He may well leave this up to the next Cabinet.
In the previous academic year, about 5,600 Chinese students and 3,500 students from India resided here, but most international students come from other European countries, particularly Germany. Last year, almost 23,000 Germans were studying in the Netherlands. Italy was a distant runner-up, with 7,600 students.
For the second time, the IND is organising central pick-up moments for students from outside Europe. Around fourteen thousand students can pick up their residence permit at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht on Saturday 2 September or Saturday 7 October.